It was an extremely frustrating night watching the Red Sox try and officially wrap up a playoff berth at Fenway on Monday. I thought this would be the night, as the pitching matchup looked like a mismatch on paper.
Josh Beckett, who had an ERA about 1.00 since he was deemed healthy after all the concerns about his elbow, went for the Red Sox. He was matched against Zach Jackson, who the Indians got from Milwaukee in the C.C. Sabathia trade. Jackson was 0-3, with an ERA over 6.00 since his recall from the minors.
Winner: Jackson. Loser: Beckett.
The Red Sox left men everywhere on Monday night, 12 in all. They left the bases loaded in the seventh, and runners on second and third to end the game. And both courtesy of Jed Lowrie, whose been stuck on 44 RBI for some time now. He struck out looking in the 7th, and swung at a pitch out of the strike zone to end it, as the Indians barely held on, 4-3. Lowrie is really struggling, and now has just 4 hits in his last 33 at-bats.
Jason Bay struck out twice early in the game with men on base both times to end innings. Jason Varitek ran the Sox out of the sixth, when Jeff Bailey's smash down the leftfield line hit the ump, and Bay had to scramble back to third. Varitek had the entire play in front of him and soon as the ball hit the ump there was no way Bay could score. It killed what could have been a bigger inning.
David Ortiz hit his 23rd home run, but in a losing cause. Papi is red hot now, though, and just at the right time. Beckett wasn't great, allowing four runs in six innings, and it included back-to-back hit batsmen in the second, and he later walked in a run. The game reminded me of the one in which Beckett pitched against Minnesota in the last week of the season in 2007, as the Sox were about to wrap up the AL East. In that game he was very hittable and the Sox lost. The bullpen was very good however, as the combo of Lopez, Masterson and Okajima allowed just a hit and a walk in 3 innings.
The magic number stays at one, and the Red Sox will have to face Cliff Lee on Tuesday night, who currently has 21 more wins than Zach Jackson. A Blue Jays win over New York will also give the Sox a playoff berth. Tampa Bay appears to be on the verge of winning the East, as they are now 2 1/2 games up with their 4-2 win at Baltimore on Monday.
Time to stop fooling around and wrap up a postseason berth.
I'm anxious to end this Magic Number watch on my blog for good.