|Closing Time: Beckett pounded as Red Sox fall to Rangers||08.08.12 at 5:11 pm ET|
The Red Sox did their best to accomplish the almost-impossible, as their lineup valiantly attempted to put the team in position to win even on a day when Sox starter Josh Beckett was beaten like a Texas-sized pinata for eight runs. But it was not to be, as the team’s rally from deficits of 3-0, 6-3 and 9-5 came up short when the Rangers plated a run in the top of the ninth against closer Alfredo Aceves to claim a 10-9 victory over Boston.
With the win, the Rangers claimed two out of three, and dug the Sox’ hole a bit deeper. The team is now 55-57 on the season, and an eye-opening 29-34 at Fenway Park.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– Josh Beckett‘s return to the Red Sox rotation proved nightmarish. The right-hander, eight days removed from back spasms that forced him out of the third inning of a July 31 start against the Tigers, got shelled for eight runs on eight hits in five-plus innings. After a 12-start streak without permitting a single homer, Beckett was taken deep three times by a Rangers team that was swinging from the heels against him.
There were plenty of bad signs from the outing. Beckett once again got pounded in the first inning, as he’d allowed three runs by the time he recorded his first out of the game, thus boosting his ERA in the opening frame to 10.42. He showed some good curveballs, but his cutter was an overused hit-me pitch, and his fastball was a generally flat 90-92 mph.
It was the third time this year that Beckett has allowed seven or more runs. He is 5-9 with a 4.97 ERA, and the Sox are now 7-12 when he takes the mound. On the year, he hasn’t been as bad as that record suggests (he has delivered quality starts in the majority of his outings), but he’s been injury-prone, and in a number of games, he simply hasn’t given his team a chance. Despite pitching well in stretches, he’s been a part of — rather than a solution to — a rotation that has a 4.86 ERA, fifth worst in the majors.
– While Beckett pitched poorly, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine made the puzzling decision to leave his starter in for the sixth inning, even as it appeared that he’d run out of gas in a three-run fifth that featured a pair of homers. The result? Beckett allowed a colossal two-run homer in the sixth that ultimately represented the margin of victory for Texas.
– Aceves has now allowed seven of 15 inherited runners to score. He inherited a nearly impossible first-and-third, no-out jam in the ninth, and promptly permitted the game-winning sac fly.
– The Sox have three losses in games where they’ve scores nine or more runs — two more than they had all of last year.
– Jacoby Ellsbury went 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– Adrian Gonzalez went 3-for-5 with three doubles while driving in three runs. The three doubles matched a career high; the day marked the first time in Gonzalez’s Red Sox career that he’s had as many as three extra-base hits in a Red Sox uniform. He’s now increased his OPS from .708 on June 20 to .818. He’s also hitting .423 with a 1.146 OPS with runners in scoring position.
– Will Middlebrooks blasted his second homer in as many games and his 15th of the year, going 1-for-3 while also drawing a pair of walks, the first time this year that he’s had multiple walks in the same game.
– Cody Ross went 3-for-4 with his 17th homer of the year and a walk. His homer came against southpaw Matt Harrison, and Ross is now hitting .315 with a 1.116 OPS and 10 homers against lefties.
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