Saturday, April 09, 2005

Game 5

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 5, Toronto Blue Jays 12

Robin, after Blaine Neal gave up a grand slam in the bottom of the 8th: "Yeah, so the bullpen needs work."

Having the Embedded Yankee didn't help, either. Before settling down to do his job in the last two and 1/3 innings he worked, David Wells gave up five runs on seven hits, including back-to-back-to-
back homeruns. The Sox managed to tie things up in the sixth and seventh, getting to starter Roy Halladay with a string of hits that ended with a David Ortiz three run smash. Next inning, Wells retires one then leaves, bringing on Matt Mantei, who still can't seem to get the hitters out. He strikes out one, gives up three hits and bleeds the go-ahead run, reinforcing my impression that despite our best hopes, he's going to end up being a gamble that Theo lost. Mantei is pulled for Halama, who can't get anyone out, giving up three runs on one hit and a walk. I think he may have driven in a run by hitting a batter, but I was out of the room at that point, so I can't be sure. The bases are now loaded and on comes Blaine Neal, who promptly gives up a grand slam. I thought we got this guy in exchange for Kim, which would have made the whole thing excusable (Kim would have given up the grand slam too), but no, I see he comes from San Diego, so we probably got him for Dave Roberts. Not so good. Neal gets out of the inning and the Sox are unable to rally. Jays win and the series is split at 1 apiece.

Robin's take on all this is that we have the same problem as the Yankees: no bullpen outside of two middle relievers (Embree and Timlin vs. Quantrill and Gordon) and one closer (Foulke vs. Rivera). He may be correct, although I wonder if part of it is the way interim-manager Mills was using his bullpen. Halama is supposed to be long relief and although Wells did manage to recover at the end of his start, Halama should not have been brought in to cover a situation where Mantei wasn't working out. Long relievers are supposed to eat up innings, not get out of tight situations like the one Halama faced in the eighth. In fact, because the first batter that Halama faced in the eighth, Corey Koskie, is a left hander, Mills screwed up: he should have brought out Mike Myers, the
left hand specialist, to get Koskie. Then use Embree or Timlin (probably Timlin, because Embree has been out more lately) to get two more outs and out of the inning. Mills might make the argument that he was saving the more important parts of the bullpen for next week's series against the Yankees, but this team works best going a game at a time; the end of last season, especially the ALCS, proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt. Also, we shouldn't assume we'd even need most of the bullpen tomorrow, giving them time to rest for Monday. I guess it's a good thing Mills isn't the guy normally running the team. As Robin put it, "I can't believe there's a time I'd miss Francoma."

Matt Clement tomorrow, hoping to make good against Ted Lilly, who has only beaten the Sox once in his career. Let's see if he can put the Sox back on the winning track for the home opener. GO SOX!!!