The Red Sox' final split squad games of the year did not go quite as planned today, as Boston found themselves on the wrong end of both contests thanks to some mediocre pitching.
Clay Buchholz was the first offender of the night, and started the game off with a bad omen, walking Detroit leadoff man Austin Jackson. While he escaped the inning entirely unharmed, Brennan Boesch took him deep to start off the second. It wasn't until the fifth inning, however, that things really came off the rails. thanks in part to the duo of corner infielders the Sox can expect to be quite solid this year.
After a single to leadoff the inning, Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Gonzalez committed a pair of errors surrounding a sacrifice bunt. With Hideki Okajima having entered the game after the initial error, disaster was not far away--Ryan Raburn took the struggling lefty deep, plating three runs and giving the Tigers a 5-1 lead.
The Sox would get a pair of runs back in the bottom of the inning thanks to three walks and a Kevin Youkilis single, but with the Tigers picking up three more in the late innings off of Michael Bowden (this run, too, was unearned thanks to a passed ball) and Brandon Duckworth, they couldn't come back, falling 8-3.
The game against the Rays had a similar final score at 7-3, but this time it was pretty much all Tim Wakefield. On a day which saw the security of Wake's roster spot come into question, he really didn't do much to help himself. Maybe it was just one of those days for the knuckleball, but for whatever reason it was just home run after home run.
The torrent started with two outs in the second inning with Kelly Shoppach's 2-run homer, and continued two batters later with another 2-run bomb, this time from Ben Zobrist. The two runs that came in the third came on two solo shots, hit back-to-back by Evan Longoria and Manny Ramirez. While Wakefield would escape the inning, the damage had very much been done.
Offensively, it was about the same story as in the game against Detroit. The Sox put together one decent inning in the fifth thanks to two singles, two walks, a hit batter, and a wild pitch, but were otherwise held in check.
It just wasn't the Sox' night.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford & J.D. Drew: All three starting outfielders reached base twice. Two hits for Ellsbury, two walks for Crawford, and one of each for Drew. Drew Sutton also managed a pair of hits.
Dustin Pedroia: Only one laser today from Pedroia, but it was one that got out of the park. Add in a walk, and Pedroia's success from the past week continues.
Ryan Kalish: A fine day at the plate for Ryan, who made his way onto the basepaths three times, stealing three bases in the process. Unfortunately, condolences are in order for Kalish, who left Florida after today's game to attend his grandfather's funeral.
Clay Buchholz: Only one of his runs was technically earned at the end of the day, but two walks to one strikeout and some solid hits including a homer left Clay less-than-happy with his performance on the day.
Hideki Okajima: He, too, gets the statistical benefit of the doubt thanks to errors. But homers are always earned, even if the runs are not.
Tim Wakefield: Nobody needs to hear about that outing again. Balls just should not leave the park at that pace.
Jed Lowrie: The young jedi wore the Golden Sombrero today, and looked visibly frustrated early on. Hopefully this is just him learning to deal with slumps that don't involve wrist injuries. . .