Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Jon Lester deserved better than a 4-2 loss on Sunday. He may have even had a shutout if the breaks went his way.
Boston was leading 1-0 with two outs in the top of the fourth inning when Josh Hamilton singled on a hard line drive to left. The ball might have been caught, but left fielder Daniel Nava did not break toward the ball. Manager Terry Francona said he wished Nava had been "more aggressive" on the play.
Nelson Cruz doubled to left center, scoring Hamilton. Cruz broke for third, on the throw to home plate. Hamilton was easily safe, and catcher Dusty Brown fired to third baseman Adrian Beltre in time to get Cruz. But Beltre lost control of the ball, and Cruz was able to come home. Texas up 2-1.
Julio Borbon doubled to left in the fifth inning with one out. Nava never had a chance because he slipped. Bordon went to third on a perfect bunt single by Elvis Andrus. With runners on first and third, Michael Young struck out, and Andrus broke for second base.
Brown threw down. Andrus stopped in the basepath as Bordon raced home. Shortstop Marco Scutaro hesitated a fraction and then threw home - but reaching Brown on a bounce. Bordon was able to slide to the back of home plate safely. Texas up 3-1.
In the eighth, Andrus tried to score from second on Ian Kinsler's single to left. Kevin Cash, now in for Brown, appeared to tag Andrus out, but it was a very close play, and Andrus was called safe. Texas up 4-1.
Lester was charged with four runs (three earned). Little things can lose ballgames, especially when the offense is struggling.
One note on Nava. He had a tough day in left field, but he continues to get on base. He went 0-for-1 with two walks on Sunday. He's batting .291 with a .390 on-base percentage.
Tonight, Daisuke Matsuzaka (6-3, 4.56) brings his unpredictable act to Oakland. The A's counter with Ben Sheets (4-8, 4.63). Sheets is 2-1 with a 3.55 ERA in his last four starts.
One last note on the Rangers game. When I walked into the Texas clubhouse looking for catcher Matt Treanor (a former Sea Dog), a voice shouts out, "Who do you want?"
The voice sounded angry until I turned and saw a smiling David Murphy.
Traded from Boston in 2007, Murphy has been in the majors since. He entered Sunday's as a defensive substitute. Murphy has played in 79 games and is batting .269 with three home runs and 25 RBI. Yes, he wishes his numbers were better, but is happy to be playing on a winning team.
Once a Red Sox first-round draft pick, Murphy played for the Sea Dogs in 2005 and part of 2006. One of the truly nicest guys to have played for Hadlock, Murphy remembers his Sea Dogs days well.
"Tell everyone up there I said hi," he said.
Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases
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