Red Sox Weekly Recap: Sellout Streak, Throwing Dice and a Nationals Sweep

Fenway Park

Fenway Park

June 4th – June 11th

The Red Sox started the week against the Baltimore Orioles with Jon Lester on the mound. Coming into the series the Red Sox had a 2-4 record against the O’s this season and it wasn’t about to get much better.

In the first game Jon Lester threw 99 pitches in his 6 innings of work allowing 2 earned runs and 2 unearned on a Mike Aviles error. Still, he left with a 1 run lead but that was soon given up by the bullpen, who had a forgettable night after a solid recent stretch.

With the Sox down by 2 in the bottom of the 9th Jarrod Saltalamacchia launched a game tying 2 run shot off Orioles closer Jim Johnson, but in the top of the 10th Alfredo Aceves stumbled and gave up 2 runs on a walk and 3 hits. Jim Johnson returned in the bottom of the 10th to redeem himself and close out the game.

Wei-Yin Chen outdueled Josh Beckett in a 2-1 victory for the O’s in game two, a win which moved the Birds into sole possession of first place in the AL East, again. This result gave Baltimore a seven game win streak at Fenway Park. Bobby Valentine talked about lack of execution after the game talking specifically about Marlon Byrd’s inability to make a sacrifice bunt play look like a good managerial decision. Marlon Byrd would soon find himself designated for assignment…

Thursday gave some respite to Sox fans as the Clay Buchholz resurgence continued, he spun a 4 hit complete game shutout to move to 6-2 on the season and improve his ERA to 5.77.

The respite would be short lived however as the Washington Nationals would come to visit with their top 3 pitchers ready to roll. And roll they did, right through the Red Sox lineups for 3 consecutive nights. Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmerman looked like a 3 man rotation that would be more than a match for any lineup in the postseason and certainly overpowered the Red Sox mix and match offence.

Pedroia probably wished he had left his return to the lineup for a few more days.

The Nationals Tyler Clippard showed Aceves how it’s done, collecting 3 saves in consecutive nights without giving up a run.

The series wasn’t all bad for the Sox; Adrian Gonzalez hit career home run number 200, the Fenway crowds set a North American pro sports record of 745 consecutive sellouts and.. uh, Bobby Valentine recorded his 39th career ejection in the Major Leagues.

Japan rejoiced and once again descended on Fenway Park as Daisuke Matsuzaka returned to the rotation in place of the demoted Daniel Bard (who continued to hit batters in triple A) and pitched 5 innings of 4 run ball with an encouraging 8 strikeouts to only 1 walk.

With just 1 win in 6 games the Sox drop back under .500 and find themselves once again rooted to the bottom of the AL East.

This week sees Boston back on the road with a visit to the Miami Marlins for 3 games and a chance for Tom, John and Larry (and Ben) to reunite with Theo Epstein as the Sox spend the weekend at Wrigley Field.