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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

We Could Have Used Manny Last Night

Baseball is such a grind that there's no point in getting wrapped up in individual games (unless it's October). Things change daily and it takes weeks, sometimes even months to get a real read on your team.

I said last week that the Manny Ramirez trade was a good thing. It was lopsided (not in the Sox' favor) but it had come to that point. Still, you couldn't help but wonder last night while the Sox left 21 guys on base, what Manny would have done in any of those spots?

We'll never know. The Kansas City Royals tried to give it away in the ninth but held on to beat Boston, 4-3 last night at Kaufman Stadium.

David Ortiz is already starting to gripe about the lack of good pitches he's seeing (without Manny hitting behind him). The Sox (64-49) jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Gil Meche and the Royals (53-60) in the first but after that they continually shot themselves in the foot.

With Mike Lowell out with a hip injury and Jacoby Ellsbury still lost at the plate, J.D. Drew led off. Drew walked to start the game then moved to third on Dustin Pedroia's (3 hits, run, walk) double. Ortiz's ground out scored Drew and Kevin Youkilis's double knocked in Pedroia.

Meche looked to be on the ropes early, not fooling any of the Sox hitters but he settled down after that. Meche (10-9) went six innings, allowing two runs on four hits with five walks and nine strikeouts.

Staked to a 2-0 lead right out of the gate, Clay Buchholz (2-7) couldn't make it last past the second inning. Alex Gordon (2 walks) hit a solo homer in the second and the Royals scored three times in the third.

Mark Teahan had an RBI single, Billy Butler added a sacrifice fly and Buchholz hit John Buck with the bases loaded.

I never thought I'd say this in 2008 but Bartolo Colon can't come back soon enough to the Sox rotation. Buchholz is talented, no question, but it just doesn't seem like he'll put it together this season. Maybe next year or the season after that, he'll be like Jon Lester this season (ie. he'll completely improve). Who knows?

Buchholz gave up four runs in six innings, allowing seven hits, three walks and four strikeouts.

Boston made some noise in the ninth as they loaded the bases with two outs against Royals closer Joakim Soria. With runners at first and third, the Royals elected to walk Youk (something that wouldn't have happened say last week). Jason Bay hit a weak grounder to third but third baseman Gordon and shortstop Tony Pena Jr. collided while Coco Crisp scored.

Sean Casey had a rare start and he was up next. He hit a decent shot to right but Teahhan snared it for the final out. Soria had to throw 31 pitches, giving up three hits, one walk and a strikeout but in the end he recorded his 32nd save.

Josh Beckett faces Brian Bannister tonight and nothing would be better than a vintage Beckett start.

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