While the Yankees lose (we hope) to the Mets, we must assess our own sad state of affairs, and that is:
Phillies 10, Red Sox 5
1. We have no fifth starter. For all the talk about Francona’s inability, once again, to recognize in time when he needs to have relievers warming and, consequently, when he needs to put them into games, the fact remains that Lenny DiNardo isn’t cut out for starting. He gave us a couple passable performances, but the combination of how he’s been used and how he’s performed would make him better-suited as a long man. Wells better be freakin’ brilliant (doubtful), or else I advocate trying out Abe Alvarez.
2. Terry Francona managed a close game into a blowout. He didn’t cost us the game — our lineup turning a mediocre starter into a great one did that — but there were two situations today (following the situation with Beckett last night and numerous situations earlier this season) in which everyone saw what needed to be done — except Francona.
— In the third, when DiNardo gave up a walk and three consecutive hits, scoring two runs. (Francona waited until two more hits and another run to remove him).
— And in the 6th, when Alvarez, who had been hit hard the inning before, gave up ringing hits to the first two batters he faced. (Francona waited until after the next batter, Abreu, hit the three-run bomb, thus achieving the twin feats of destroying the kid’s confidence AND waiting too long to remove him).
Would Alvarez (for DiNardo) and Tavarez (for Alvarez) have prevented those runs from scoring? No one knows. And the only lead the Red Sox had was 1-0 before DiNardo gave up two runs in three batters, so he clearly deserves the loss. We can’t say Francona cost us the game, but clearly he could have minimized the damage and given the offense a chance to climb back, which they clearly tried to do.
Interesting statistical note: If Josh Beckett had gotten one more out in his last performance, he, Curt Schilling and Tim Wakefield would have pitched exactly the same number of innings and given up exactly the same number of runs, thus resulting in identical 4.17 ERAs for the season-to-date. As it is, Beckett’s ERA is slightly higher (4.19) because he’s pitched 1/3-inning fewer than Schilling and Wakefield. Wake, of course, being the victim of poor run support, has a much worse record than the other two.