For the third time in a week, Eric Gagne let a Red Sox lead in the late innings go up in smoke as allowed three runs in the ninth inning after a great 8th inning rally by the Red Sox, and they could only manage a split in Friday's doubleheader with a 7-5 loss in Game 2.
Gagne has now allowed a truly astounding 10 runs and 14 hits in just six innings in a Red Sox uniform (that is a 15.00 ERA for those of you keeping score at home). There is something clearly wrong with him, as he had all kinds of trouble locating his fastball again, and the Angels hitters were waiting on it.
You now have to wonder if Terry Francona can afford to keep going to Gagne in the late innings with a lead. He used Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon in Game 1, so using Gagne to close made all the sense in the world and I had no problem with him doing it. And especially since Gagne showed flashes of his old self in getting the win over Tampa Bay last Tuesday. Any goodwill Gagne started to get had again evaporated, and the boo birds will be back out in full force. It's now in Francona's court what to do with him. (I'm glad I don't have to make that decision.)
The Sox got a great effort from Josh Beckett (7 innings and two runs) and a lousy one from Manny Delcarmen (one inning and two runs), and they pulled off a great comeback in the eighth, getting four runs to grab a 5-4 lead, led by David Ortiz' two-run double. Papi had big hits in both games, which is a great sign, and J.D. Drew had five hits in the twinbill.
Then Gagne came in and ruined everyone's night.
But it wasn't finished with Gagne's torching. Kevin Youkilis clearly fouled tipped a two-strike pitch in the ninth, which got away from the Angels' catcher. Youk was called out, and he and Terry Francona both went bananas (pictured), with Tito getting tossed. Replays clearly showed both the home plate and first base umps (Brian Runge and Mark Wegner) got the call very wrong. (Hey umps, if Youk didn't foul off the pitch, why didn't he run to first when the ball skipped by the catcher?)
Just goes to what I've been saying all year. MLB is loaded with incompetent umpires who blow even the simplest of calls. I have not seen so many blown calls in my life than this season, and I'm not just talking about the ones going against the Red Sox either. Rarely now do I see a game where something is not missed. Runge called a horrible game behind the plate, and that was for both teams. I hope both those lousy umps have the decency to come out and admit tomorrow that they blew the call on Youk in the ninth.
But of course, being MLB umpires, they won't. Complete imbeciles.