Red Sox Recap: Justin Masterson Gets Pounded In Oakland
Last night’s game between the Boston Red Sox and the Oakland Athletics was a beatdown in Oaktown. Red Sox starting pitcher Justin Masterson was bullied by the Athletics’ bats into submission.
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In front of over 24 600 fans in the O.co Coliseum, on another cloudy, windy night in Oakland, Athletics starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz took the mound, to counter Masterson. The lefty proved to be too much for Boston’s bats, early on. After Pomeranz had a three-up-three-down first inning, it was Masterson’s turn. Athletics’ Marcus Semien thrashed a triple to center field, which put him in perfect position for the next batter, Josh Reddick, to pick up an RBI, with a single to right field. Oakland’s starting catcher and leader of the club Stephen Vogt got into the scoring as well, crushing his ninth home run of the season to right field, that cashed in Reddick, as well.
Most of Masterson’s pitch selections were either the four-seam fastball or the sinker, which both either missed the strike zone or were put in play. In other words, Masterson was not fooling any of the Athletics, this night.
The next two innings went pretty much the same: Pomeranz shut down the Red Sox and Masterson struggled to get out of the frames. Eric Sogard doubled off of the Red Sox righty, scoring Brett Lawrie, in the bottom of the second, and Reddick led off the bottom of the third with a solo blast off of a 1-0, 88-mph fastball. After designated hitter Billy Butler flied out and Vogt walked, Red Sox manager John Farrell must have felt that he had no choice but to relieve Masterson of his pitching duties. Steven Wright replaced him.
Five straight knuckleballs later, Max Muncy was walked. The sixth pitch from Wright saw Lawrie smack a single that moved Vogt to third and Muncy to second base. Wright didn’t seem to fair much better, especially when, two batters later, Sogard singled to center field to score Vogt and Muncy.
It only took four more knuckleballs for Semien to start the bottom of the fourth inning the same as Reddick did in the third. Semien’s leadoff homer to left center field was his sixth of the season.
May 12, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Boston Red Sox second basemanDustin Pedroia
(15) at O.co Coliseum. The Oakland Athletics defeated the Boston Red Sox 9-2. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
None of these highlights have much to do with the Red Sox bats because Pomeranz wouldn’t allow it to happen. The first 15 Red Sox batters were easily sent back down to the dugout. The breakthrough came in the top of the sixth inning, when right fielder Shane Victorino hit a double to left field. After shortstop Xander Bogaerts moved Victorino to third base, with a groundout, catcher Blake Swihart did the same to move the runner across home plate for the first Boston run of the evening.
In the top of the seventh inning, with Pomeranz still pitching long after Masterson’s night was over, Mike Napoli singled to score Dustin Pedroia, who had earlier advanced to third on Semien’s throwing error. Pomeranz was later relieved in the top of the eighth inning by Fernando Rodriguez.
Wright settled down, after first relieving Boston’s starter, not giving up many hits until the bottom of the eighth inning. After walking former Red Sox outfielder Coco Crisp, Wright allowed Semien to single to left field, moving the runner for Reddick to collect yet another RBI, with a single to center field. All three outs recorded in the inning were groundouts and both singles were grounders that the defense could not contain.
The Athletics’ reliever Rodriguez was later relieved in the ninth by Dan Otero, and the results were much the same. The Red Sox had no big comeback in their fortune, this night.
- The Red Sox were 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position. The Athletics were 6-for-11.
- As a team, Boston only had 4 hits and no walks, while striking out 5 times. Pedroia accounted for 2 of those hits, while designated hitter David Ortiz accounted for 3 of those strikeouts.
- Oakland had 12 hits and 13 runners left on base.
There’s not much to say. Masterson picked up his second loss of the season because he couldn’t fool any batter off of his pitches. Masterson threw 57 pitches, 30 for strikes, in 2.1 innings. He gave up 6 earned runs on 6 hits, a walk, and a strikeout. For a groundball pitcher to give up 2 home runs and get smacked around the ballpark like he did, Masterson will have to review this game to make sure that his pitch location is lower and better. The only other thing to do is to never speak of the game, as it can only bring nightmares back to life.
Unlike his counterpart, Wright’s night was not a complete disaster. He threw 110 pitches, 72 for strikes, for 5.2 innings. Wright also gave up 6 hits, but most were right after he relieved Masterson. Wright allowed 3 earned runs, including a home run, and 3 walks, while striking out 4 batters. That’s not a great report for a relief pitcher; however, if these numbers were Masterson’s, we would have said that the starter had a so-so night. Therefore, we cannot roast Wright too badly about his performance.
The only reason why this grade is not a failure is because they did score a couple runs. If the pitching staff only gave up a few runs, the night would not have seemed a total loss. However, to only have 4 hits and no walks is horrendous. The Red Sox barely had any baserunners all night. Hard to make a comeback when you are almost never threatening the other team. There was no pressure at all for Pomeranz or his two relievers to shut down Boston, except in two instances. Even then, with the giant lead, those runs would not have scared anyone to make too many mistakes. Pedroia gets the game ball simply because he had half of the team’s hits.
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