Do the baseball gods "have it in" for the 2010 edition of the Boston Red Sox?
The ballclub has endured injury after injury this season, beginning with LF Jacoby Ellsbury and progressing through the rotation and lineup like a wildfire. This weekend, the injury epidemic became a full-scale conflagration as three key members of the ballclub were felled by injury.
Dustin Pedroia went down with a broken bone in his left foot on Friday night. Clay Buchholz had to be removed from yesterday’s outing due to a hyper-extended left knee. And, earlier today, catcher Victor Martinez broke his left thumb after two separate foul balls glanced off of it, the second one bending the tip backwards, breaking it.
On a day when Sox ace Jon Lester bested Giants ace—and two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner—Tim Lincecum, the primary topic of conversation was the rash of injuries endured by the team this weekend.
After the game, V-Mart said: “We definitely want to get out of here.”
As with Pedroia and Buchholz before him, Martinez will be examined first-hand when the team arrives back in Boston on Monday.
Lester allowed one run on five hits in a complete game victory. His nine-inning effort was critical, as it came one day after manager Terry Francona used seven relievers after Buchholz had to leave due to the hyper-extended knee.
Lester retired 17 of the final 18 batters he faced, including the last 10, in an atypically efficient 103-pitch performance. It was the sixth complete game of his career, and the second of his 2010 campaign.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said: “We needed that. (I talked with the media) before the game about being a little beat up, but when your pitching is not you always give yourself a chance.”
On the mound for the Giants was Lincecum, aka “The Freak,” who has dazzled National League hitters since joining the big league club in 2007. Over the last two years, he is 33-12 with a 2.55 ERA and 526 strikeouts in 452.1 IP, but Red Sox hitters made him seem mortal as they knocked him out of the game after just three innings (4 ER, 5 H, 3 BB). It tied for the shortest outing of his brief career.
David Ortiz got things started for the Red Sox offense in the top of the first inning with a monster shot into McCovey Cove, the designation given to the area of San Francisco Bay just beyond the stands in right field. According to the Giants media notes, it was the 72nd time a home run reached the water in the cove and it was 20th time the feat was accomplished by an opponent.
Steroid-boy Barry Bonds has put 35 balls into the water.
The Giants responded with their lone run of the game in the bottom of the first. CF Andres Torres singled, stole both second and third base, and then scored on a groundout by LF Aubrey Huff.
The Sox answered back immediately.
Martinez walked to start the top of the second inning. One out later, he moved around to third base on a double by Billy Hall, who was in the starting lineup as Dustin Pedroia’s replacement at second base. The Giants intentionally walked Darnell McDonald to load the bases and bring Lester to the plate, but the southpaw foiled the strategy with a long sacrifice fly to right field. Marco Scutaro then drove a single into right to extend the lead to 3-1.
They added another run in the third inning on a Kevin Youkilis single, JD Drew walk and an RBI single by Hall.
Adrian Beltre homered in the ninth inning to close out the scoring.
RHP Clay Buchholz arrived at AT&T Park feeling pretty good the day after leaving his start after only one inning because of his hyper-extended knee. He said the injury feels more centrally located in the back of the hamstring as opposed to the knee, and reiterated his belief he will not miss his next start (though Francona will likely have to juggle his rotation to make that happen… but with two off days this week that may not be too difficult).