Dice-K worked quickly, threw strikes and kept the ball down. Next up from the west coast, pigs fly. I’m clearly only meant to see either fantastic or awful games from Dice-K. In 2008 I saw him 3-hit the A’s, in 2009 I saw him give up 5 runs in the first inning to the A’s. Last night, he looked possibly better than his 2008 self. He had fewer strike outs, but also threw fewer pitches and didn’t get to a three-ball count until the 4th inning. Tito was very excited to point out that he threw a first pitch strike to 19 of the 24 batters he faced. I did double check, the pitcher on the mound was throwing with his right hand, so there’s no way Lester slipped in and faked everybody out.
It’s a good thing he, Bard and Paps came through, since the Sox need awesome pitching performances to have any chance to win. With the exception of Beltre the bats are still on All-Star break, and according to Tito, Beltre’s hamstring is apparently killing him. Papi is weakly grounding into the shift, Youks is striking out and the outfield band-aids are coming back down to AAAA-earth. But Eric Patterson hit a triple!
The real problem with playing in the Bay Area is that the Sox can’t seem to play a game without losing a player. In San Francisco they lost Pedroia, Buchholz and Martinez on consecutive days. Last night they almost lost Bard. As he was walking through the clubhouse, Bard bumped very gently into Beltre. They both quickly apologized to each other, before Bard took a few more steps towards the kitchen, stopped, and turned back to Beltre. “Dude, I think you broke my ribs.”
If Bard isn’t available tonight, you now all know the real reason.