BOSTON, MA - JUNE 8: Felix Doubront #61 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after a rough third inning against the Washington Nationals at Fenway Park June 8, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
It's not a game that the Red Sox were expecting to win, but it's one that they lost for different reasons than we were expecting.
We were expecting Stephen Strasburg to be unhittable. He wasn't, at least not quite. While he was every bit as electric as expected, striking out 13 batters in six innings of work, the Sox managed to get to him for a couple in the second inning courtesy of a David Ortiz walk, Ryan Sweeney single, and Mike Aviles double. Had Bryce Harper not made a good running grab to rob Saltalamacchia of a base hit in the inning, it would have been good for even more. Adrian Gonzalez would even have had a home run in the next inning were it not for an impressive grab by Xavier Nady, reaching over the wall to bring Gonzalez' long fly ball back.
Now, on a normal night two runs in six innings might be enough behind Felix Doubront. But after flashing his usual strong stuff in the first couple of innings, Doubront spent the third and fourth falling behind and hanging balls high in the zone. The Nationals did not miss their chance, scoring three times in the third and three more times in the fourth, with Bryce Harper capping off the latter effort with a two-run bomb to center field that left the Sox down 6-2.
The Sox almost managed to rally off a tiring Strasburg in the sixth, but with the bases loaded and two outs, Kevin Youkilis watched a 3-2 pitch either catch the corner low-and-away, or just miss for what should have been an RBI walk depending on who you ask. Personally, I think it was about the most perfect strike Strasburg could throw in the situation, but it's a pitch that will get some play over the next 24 hours.
The only other really noteworthy moment came in the eighth inning, when Adrian made up for his earlier homer-that-wasn't by going incredibly deep to center field, over the tall wall and a good six or seven rows back for his 200th career home run. It would be big for the Sox if Adrian could find his swing again, and between today and yesterday we have some very good signs of just that. Otherwise, all the Sox managed to do was bring in another run in the ninth, forcing Tyler Clippard into the game for good measure.