Sunday wasn't Terry Francona's best afternoon managing the Red Sox bullpen.
He pulled Tim Wakefield a bit too early. Wake left with a 4-1 lead in the 7th with two outs, a man on and Nick Markakis at the plate. Tito went with Hideki Okajima and he promptly gave up an RBI double, and then Miguel Tejada banged one off the foul pole in left to tie the game at 4.
Yet another possible win for Wakefield was gone, as the pen turned into the Arson Squad again. Tim left the game tipping his hat to the crowd, as the bullpen now awaits him. (He didn't look terribly happy leaving the game, but the Sox faithful gave him a really nice ovation as he departed.) It now looks more and more like Wake will have no end of trouble reaching the Red Sox all-time win mark of 192, as he is still stuck on 175 career Red Sox wins.
A damn shame really.
BTW, Wake's first appearance out of the pen this year will mark his first relief stint since a very memorable outing: Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS, where he went three innings and got the win.
The game went to the tenth inning, and as soon as I saw Scott Atchison in the game, I knew this one was heading for the "L" column. And sure enough, he loaded the bases with no outs, and Scott Schoeneweis gave up two straight singles that got Baltimore three runs. Atchison will either be DFA'd or sent down when Daisuke Matsuzaka joins the rotation.
The Red Sox scrambled for two runs in the bottom of the tenth, and had two on with two outs, but Marco Scutaro lined out to second to end it. It was just the Orioles' third win of the year and broke a ten-game losing streak. Against the worst team in baseball this past weekend, the Red Sox basically had to claw for those two wins. The O's got 16 runs against the Sox pitching staff, and they had been the lowest scoring team in the AL. Not good.
I love Terry Francona as Red Sox manager, and I despise those idiots who refer to him as "Francoma" when things he does doesn't work out. He has his bad games like the players do. This was just one of them.
Now, off to Toronto and Baltimore for six games, and Daisuke Matsuzaka will be activated for his first start of the year on Saturday in Baltimore.