Thursday, April 20, 2006

Game 16: The Difficult Life of Josh Bard

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 1, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 5

Knuckleball, knuckleball, where for art thou, knuckleball?

Poor Timmy Wakefield can’t seem to catch a break so far. He’s had that one win against Baltimore, had the hurt put on him by Texas and now, even worse, has had two good starts ruined by a lack of run support. Last time it was the shutout by Pineiro, tonight Wake gave up two runs, two hits and two walks and still managed to lose horribly. One would think that two runs (well, three with another pass ball from Josh Bard) would be enough, but no. And then Tavarez came out and did that thing he does, where he gives up three hits and two runs, doesn’t get an out and pushes the game beyond reach. Finally, just to make things interesting, the Sox loaded the bases in the ninth and somehow failed to score a single run. It was truly a site to see. All in all, if I was to pick a way to end the first home stand of the season, it wouldn’t have been like tonight’s game.

An aside: some day Josh Bard will get to Mirabelli levels with Wake and I’ll be very happy, or at least not nervous with every pitch. Tonight, though, I found myself actively praying for no strikeouts just so the batter wouldn’t make it to first base as the ball skipped past Bard’s waiting glove.

But let’s be positive and do a quick perspective check. Boston has the best record in the majors, even after tonight’s loss. They’ve won or tied every series they’ve played except for the one against Toronto and we get to lay part of the blame for that loss at the feet of David Wells. Who will probably try to eat it afterwards. Finally, the Sox finish this first home stand of the year with a six and four record. There’s room for improvement, but not a bad start.

Tomorrow night is start of a three game series against Toronto, with Beckett going for win number four against former teammate A.J. Burnett. Can Beckett keep matching Schilling win for win? Let’s see it, guys. GO SOX!!!