For the Boston Red Sox, the 2008 campaign thus far has been a tale of two cities. At 21-5, the BoSox own the best home record in MLB but after last nights 1-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners, Boston’s road record drops to 11-19 which is 2nd worst in the American League.
Eric Bedard pitched 7 shutout innings allowing only 2 hits while striking out 8 Sox to earn his fourth win of the season. His stuff was downright filthy and had Boston hitters guessing all night. During the off season, Seattle traded away 5 prospects to acquire the staff ace and last night everyone got to see the pitcher the Mariners had hoped to be getting all year long.
Bedard was relieved by Brandon Morrow in the 8th and after recording all three outs for his 3rd hold of the year, closer J.J. Putz entered the game for the 9th and notched his 6th save on the season.
For Boston, Tim Wakefield pitched an almost equally as impressive game going the distance in hurling 8 innings of 5 hit ball, walking none while recording 8 strike outs as well. The one pitch he wishes he could have back was a hanging knuckleball to Yuniesky Betancourt that he drove over the left field wall into the Sox bullpen in the 3rd inning for his 3rd homerun of the season.
“Unfortunately Bedard pitched great,” Wakefield said. “And once they got to the bullpen—Morrow and Putz—it’s pretty tough.”
In a game that only took 2 hours and 11 minutes, the Sox never really got things going offensively against the M’s pitching staff. They were only able to get two runners past first base against Bedard and their only real scoring threat in the 4th inning was killed by an inning ending double-play ball hit by Mike Lowell.
“It keeps me in rhythm. Without that defense tonight, I probably wouldn’t have made it out of the fifth inning,” Bedard said.
This outing follows up Bedard’s worst performance of the year when he allowed 9 earned runs in 4 1/3 innings against the New York Yankees last Friday in the Bronx. When asked about what adjustments he made from then to yesterday he was very frank with his response.
“Location,” was all he could muster up to interested reporters.
But he certainly had a point. He painted the outside corners of the plate with his pitches, creating problems for Red Sox hitters all night. By establishing the outside of the plate he was then able to set up his inside fastball, which jammed Sox batters and took away a lot of their powerful cuts.
“This was the game plan we talked about in spring training,” Mariners manager John McLaren said.
The Sox continue their 10 game road trip with a four game series in Baltimore. They have now lost 10 of their last 12 games away from Fenway Park and have already dropped two games to the Orioles at Camden Yards less then 2 weeks ago. The team has today off to travel and will resume play tomorrow at 7:05 EST.
Josh Beckett will take the hill against the O’s Daniel Cabrera and try to stop the hurt as much as he can. Beckett is 5-4 on the season and coming off a solid effort that resulted in a loss. He hurled 7 innings and allowed 2 runs against Oakland earlier in the road trip. Cabrera boasts a 5-1 mark and has won his last three decisions.
– The Red Sox are going to send RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka back to Boston for an MRI on his right shoulder, which the team said is “fatigued”.
– Manny Ramirez is one homerun shy of reaching the career milestone of 500. He will be the 24th player in MLB history to accomplish the feat.
– Kevin Youkilis is expected to start on Friday after sitting out the three game series in Seattle nursing a sore right hand.