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Home » April 2010 Game CommentsApril 2010 » Matt Painting

Matt Painting

Matt Garza’s pitching evoked Pedro Martinez circa 2000. Although Ubaldo Jimenez has been the young right-handed pitcher of note because of his recent no-hitter, Garza has made himself an early candidate to win the American League Cy Young. The Rays ace’s accomplishments have flown under the radar even though his heater lights up the gun in the mid-90s as he paints the black like a latter-day Velazquez (the painter, not the Red Sox infielder).

Perhaps because his first two eight-inning performances were against the lowly Orioles Garza’s dominance has been ignored. Baltimore’s hitters only managed 10 hits, 2 earned runs, and 5 bases on balls over the 16 innings they faced Garza. The Charm City squad currently sports a record of 2-11, so it is expected that they would have difficulties against mediocre pitchers let alone a hurler of Garza’s caliber.

Therefore taking the mound in Fenway would be a true test for Garza despite the Red Sox’s failure to play up to expectations. The fireballer carried a perfect game into the fourth. Garza was none too pleased that Dioner Navarro wasn’t in place behind the plate when he was ready, but the backstop was the last out of the top half of the inning. Garza finally allowed a base on balls to Marco Scutaro, the home team’s leadoff batter and first baserunner. Given Garza’s fiery demeanor, it is likely he allowed Navarro’s delay to rattle him.

Even with perfection thwarted, Garza still had the opportunity to match Jimenez’s accomplishment. The local nine complied; Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew struck out in the fifth and Adrian Beltre seemed on his way to whiffing to end the inning. But with the count 2-2, the third baseman got a hold of a fastball and banked it off the left field wall.

Unaccustomed to the physics of Fenway, Beltre thought he had a double but was instead thrown out at second. Or maybe he was distracted by the snakes in the grass.

On the defensive side Jon Lester was similarly snakebit. After surrendering a two-run homer to B.J. Upton he gave up a ground-rule double to Willy Aybar. With none out, Navarro tapped the ball to Lester, who contemplated an attempt to erase the lead runner only to find third base vacant. That moment of distraction made Lester rush the throw to Youkilis and the skewed toss pulled the first baseman off the bag. The gaffe permitted old friend Gabe Kapler to drive in a run with a fielder’s choice to short.

Beltre’s ersatz double and Lester’s phantom out are but microcosms of their squad’s early season woes. No season was lost before the Boston Marathon was contested, and as we’ve all heard ad infinitum it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Game 12: April 18, 2010
7W: Matt Garza (3-0)
2B: Willy Aybar (1), Evan Longoria (2)
HR: Carlos Pena (4), B.J. Upton (3)
Red Sox
1L: Jon Lester (0-2)
2B: Adrian Beltre (3), Mike Cameron (3)

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