Tim Wakefield notched his 2,000th career strikeout yesterday and gave the Boston Red Sox seven quality innings but unfortunately it wasn't enough as Shaun Marcum allowed just two hits in the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 win.
Even though the Red Sox lost yesterday, it was still a pretty respectable 10-game homestand as they finished it up 7-3. They're still in fourth place in the AL East and are 1½ games behind Blue Jays.
The Red Sox did rally in the 9th for two runs but they weren't done in the by Kevin Gregg that inning but rather home plate umpire Dale Scott. I was sitting off to the side of the plate but you could tell the pitches he was calling weren't really strikes. And after seeing the NESN replay on the way out of the ballpark yesterday, it was confirmed.
David Ortiz had a 3-2 count and watched what should have been ball 4 according to the Amica pitch zone replay on NESN. Big Papi took exception to the strike 3 call as he should have. He wasn't ejected but Terry Francona came out to argue. The next batter, Adrian Beltre had two strikes on him and checked his swing on a ball but but Scott ruled he had gone around. The replay showed he wasn't near going around. Francona came out to argue that one as well and got about two feet out of the dugout before he was ejected for arguing balls and strikes.
Yes, Scott didn't help them out at all in the 9th inning but that's not the reason they lost. The reason they lost was they couldn't get anything done against Marcum. He was mixing in his fastball with a cutter and that kept the Red Sox hitters at bay. He wasn't exactly overpowering as his fastball hit 90 mph once but hovered in the 87-89 range all game long.
You have to admire the job Wakefield did. He's been jettisoned to the bullpen but all along Francona said he wasn't a reliever. They wanted to keep him stretched out in case of another injury to a pitcher and it worked to their advantage as it's still not known when Josh Beckett will make his next start. Wake's been a true professional about the entire situation and yesterday he did his job. It's just unfortunate that Marcum was a little bit better than him.
When you're at the ballpark for the game gives you a totally different perspective. When you watch the game on NESN or any other channel for that matter, you can hear the crowd but you can't. You know they're cheering but you don't know what they are saying. Obviously watching the hitters at the plate is different but when you've been around the game for as long as I have, you learn to look at where the catcher catches the ball to know whether or not it's a strike. Plus you can always read the hitters body language.
On a final note, Mike Lowell is extremely loved in Boston. When he came out to pinch-hit for Jonathan Van Every in the 8th, Fenway Park rose as one and gave him a huge, loud standing ovation. It was such a great feeling to be part of that. And thanks to fc for taking me to the game.
The Red Sox are off today as they traveled to Detroit after the game for a 3-game set that begins on Friday. Clay Buchholz will make the start against Max Scherzer. We'll have the pitching matchups for series coming up a little bit later as the Tigers haven't announced their Sunday starter just yet.
For more slices of Boston Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, ESPN Boston, NESN, Providence Journal and WEEI websites.
And if you must read the enemy papers, head over to The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and Toronto Sun websites.