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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Catching up on the Cleveland series 

On Wednesday night, the Sox, aided by a Manny Ramirez tie-breaking home run in the 8th inning, toppled the Cleveland Indians by a score of 8-6. Curt Schilling, pitched 6.2 innings, allowing 5 runs, but pitched better than his statline would indicate.

What was most surprising was that he came out to pitch the 7th inning, after it appeared that he was most definitely tiring. Schilling finished with 133 pitches thrown, 89 for strikes. Schilling passed Hall of Famer Jim Bunning for 15th on the strikeout list with 2,863.

Papelbon received the save with a 10-pitch ninth inning.

Despite the victory, the Sox looked particularly terrible running the bases. In the third inning, Cleveland starter Jake Westbrook caught Ramirez off second base. As he stepped off the mound and ran towards Manny, Jason Varitek attempted to advance to second base, but the Indians overthrew on the rundown and tagged him out at second before throwing back to third to catch Ramirez. Francona later joked, "Manny tooketh away, but he gaveth a lot more late."

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On Thursday night, the Sox didn't fare as well as they had the previous evening. The lost by a score of 7-1, with Victor Martinez' 3-run homer off of Tim Wakefield in the first proving to be the difference in the ballgame.

Josh Bard allowed four passed balls on the evening, bringing his season total to 10.

"I missed them, it's that simple," said Bard. "I don't know what else to say. I just didn't catch them."

Cliff Lee, the Indians starter, was tough as nails, allowing just one run on four hits in 6 strong innings. He was particularly feisty against David Ortiz, whom he strikeout twice. Although Ortiz has looked strong against lefties this season, he appeared completely overmatched by Lee.

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Tonight, Josh Beckett squares off against Paul Byrd. Many of the Sox have fared rather well against Byrd in the past. Ortiz, Lowell, and Varitek have all previously gone deep vs Byrd.

Byrd's first month as an Indian has been a struggle, with control problems leading to big innings. What's most troubling is that Byrd has been beaten up by some of the lesser offenses in the American League. His latest outing against the Royals on Saturday was the roughest yet, in which he gave up seven runs on six hits with two walks in just three innings of work.

After the most frustrating loss of the season, in which Josh Beckett squandered most of a 6-2 lead to the Blue Jays, you can be that he can't wait to get back on the hill. Although it wasn't solely his fault, Beckett placed all the blame for that defeat on his shoulders. It goes without saying that Beckett has been very strong for Boston thus far, going at least seven innings in every start. This is his first career start against the Indians.



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