When I saw that name as Texas' starting pitcher on Wednesday, I thought this might be the night the Red Sox offense busts out of its doldrums and finally puts up some runs. The original starter, Vicente Padilla, was down with the flu and Nippert was a last-minute addition.
Nippert joined the list of hurlers who have recently baffled the Sox. It's one thing to lose to a quality pitcher like Kevin Millwood, but they looked anemic against Nippert. All they could do was get a Nick Green home run in the third. They had two shots to score runs after that, but once again came up empty.
When the Sox fell behind 2-1, I turned to my friend Joe at Professor Thom's and said it felt like the Red Sox were down 6-1 instead. And when it increased to 3-1 Texas, I said it then felt like it was 10-1. And I knew the night was all but over.
The putrid offense has now gone an amazing 49 innings without scoring more than one run in an inning. They close out a wretched road trip at 1-5, and scored just 13 runs on the trip.
Clay Buchholz was shaky in his second start, as he allowed all three runs in four innings. The bullpen continued to be superb since the All-Star break. They pitched four shutout innings, and have pitched 13 2/3 innings since the break without allowing a run.
Doug Mathis (who?) pitched the final 3 1/3 innings for the save and again the Sox looked sluggish, getting zilch off him. Truly pathetic.
New York's sweep of the Orioles means that the Red Sox are now 2 back in the East.