Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Rush

Game 12 – Red Sox

Toronto Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 1
Record: 7-5


NESN’s cameras caught noted Canadian rocker Geddy Lee in the crowd for last night’s Sox/Jays tilt. Carlos Lee would’ve been more helpful to the Sox’ cause, as they once again found themselves dominated by a middling lefthanded starter. And much like the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez, Jays’ starter Gustavo Chacin left the Limelight to Daisuke Matsuzaka while outpitching him.

The Sox’ first foray into the Great White North offered an echo of the Distant Early Warning signs that have Sox fans apprehensive. Yet again, the Sox wasted a terrific pitching performance, failing to muster anything at all against the Jays’ staff, despite several early opportunities. Outside of Julio Lugo, David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew, the Sox’ bats have been beyond anemic. Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek look for all the world like their days as productive major league hitters have gone the way of Tom Sawyer’s youth.

Matsuzaka was flat out dominant, except for one bizarre and ultimately telling five-batter stretch. He held the Jays to one baserunner through the first three innings. Vernon Wells reached on a little nubber with one out in the bottom of the 4th, and though Matsuzaka was visibly miffed by an umpiring decision during the Wells at-bat, little seemed amiss. After Wells reached, though, Matsuzaka channeled Ebby Calvin for an uncomfortably wild stretch, walking Frank Thomas before giving up a ripped single to Lyle Overbay. Lugo should’ve turned Overbay’s well-hit smash into an inning-ending double play, but the ball eluded him to score Wells from second.

Matsuzaka walked Aaron Hill to load the bases on a combination of wildly high fastballs and 50-foot curves and then issued a walk to Gregg Zaun to plate Toronto’s second run. Then, as soon as the storm blew up, it dissipated as Matsuzaka blew Royce Clayton away and got Jason Smith on a long Fly By Night to center. Outside of that five-batter hiccup, the Jays only got one baserunner against Sox pitching. Matsuzaka’s ability to calm himself and regain his form was instructive, but so was the frustration and emotion that he showed while getting into the jam in the first place. Opposing managers (and AL umpires, not insignificantly) will watch this game tape with some interest.

The Big Money portion of the Sox offense (hell, all portions) took the night off, the only run scoring on Wily Mo Pena’s gargantuan blast to center in the top of the 3rd. Finally a Working Man after being invisible for the season’s first 10 games, Wily Mo was the only real bright spot for the Sox.

The Sox play 10 of their next 12 against the Blue Jays and Yankees, both of whom are significantly banged up. There’s no such thing as a must-win April game, or even series, but if the Sox fail to make hay over the next two weeks, they may look back with fond regret as the temperatures climb and their Freewill becomes subject to other teams’ whimsy.

1 comment:

TJ said...

It was not until Rush played the Knickerbocker Arena in 1991 or 1992 that I realized Geddy Lee was a dude. Seriously, is there any other "rock" lead singer who sounds more like a chick?