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Home » May 2009 Game CommentsMay 2009 » Worrisome


Game 31: May 9, 2009
W: Scott Kazmir (4-3)
S: Lance Cormier (1)
15-17, 1 game winning streak
Red Sox5
L: Jon Lester (2-3)
19-12, 1 game losing streak
Highlights: This was the last you’ll see of Javier Lopez for a while. He was designated for assignment to make room for Daniel Bard. Unfortunately, that won’t be the last of Evan Longoria. The slugger will undoubtedly be afflicting Red Sox pitchers for the indefinite future.

Carlton Fisk visited Dick Stockton and Tim McCarver in the fifth. In a circuitous way the Hall of Famer advocated knocking Evan Longoria down. The corner infielder was just too comfortable in the box and someone had to take control of the situation, he said, and make him a bit less comfortable. Apparently no one in the Red Sox video room had the volume up as Longoria proceeded to have a 2-for-4 showing with a four-bagger and 5 RBIs.

Perhaps a pitcher like Daniel Bard will be the antidote to the scourge of Longoria. Bard was selected by the Red Sox in the first round of the 2006 amateur draft. His development was held back because he didn’t sign right away and therefore had no professional innings in 2006. In 2007 Bard was promptly shelled in Lancaster, which is de rigueur in the California League. But his failure on the West Coast was jaw-dropping: in 13⅓ innings he allowed 21 hits, 15 earned runs, 2 home runs, 22 walks, 9 strikeouts, and 5 wild pitches. He was sent to Greenville to piece together what was left of his confidence.

West End Field proved less of a launching pad than Clear Channel Stadium, but the young prospect was plagued by wildness. In South Carolina he had 56 walks and 22 wild pitches while striking out only 38.

Bard played in Hawai‘i over the winter and was moved from the rotation to the bullpen. The change in roles diverted his career path from bust back to ace. Perhaps he’ll make his debut tonight and add to the constellation of new stars emerging from the Red Sox development system.

The national media outlets have picked up on David Ortiz’s slump, so you know it’s that bad. In short order whispers about Jon Lester’s lack of effectiveness will grow into a deafening chorus.

Despite these seemingly insurmountable setbacks, the Red Sox are a just a game behind the AL East-leading Blue Jays. There are more than a few reasons for optimism: Julio Lugo and Rocco Baldelli’s first homers of the season, Jason Bay’s emergence as a bona fide clean-up hitter, Mike Lowell’s full recovery, and the young players continuing to contribute.

As good as the Rays are portrayed to be, even if they win this series they will have to look up to see Boston in the standings.

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