By Danny Picard
BOSTON --@font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; The Red Sox lost to the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night,by a score of 7-6. So it would seem like a minor coincidence that the Red Soxwalked seven batters, as opposed to the six batters the Blue Jays walked.
Only, not really.
That one extra walk represented the leadoff walk in the topof the seventh inning. It turned out to be a disasterous seventh inning forBobby Jenks and the now 2-10 Red Sox, which also turned out to be thedifference maker in a one-run ballgame.
Jenks performed the cardinal sin of walking Torontos No. 9hitter to lead off the inning, with the game tied at 3-3. From there, the BlueJays top of the order took advantage by perfectly executing a hit-and-run, andscoring four earned runs off Bostons reliever, taking a commanding 7-3 lead.
The lead was commanding mainly because of the situationthe Red Sox were in. They had blown a 3-0 lead, and were on their way to a 10thloss, before even winning three.
And that was all because Red Sox pitchers lacked any type ofcommand on Friday night. Sure, Jenks only walked one. But it was the No. 9hitter, and it began an inning of regret.
Before Jenks, there was Clay Buchholz. The loss goes next toJenks name, because he was on the mound for the seventh-inning blow-up. ButBuchholz had initially allowed the Blue Jays into the game, after walking theNo. 8 and 9 hitters with one out in the top of the fifth. It lead to a CoreyPatterson two-out triple that cut Bostons lead to 3-2.
And then in the top of the sixth, Buchholz walked theleadoff batter in Adam Lind, who later scored in the inning, after TravisSnider drove him in with a double off of Alfredo Aceves.
The run was credited to Buchholz, meaning that the threeruns he allowed, all were the product of free passes. He finished with ahandful on the night, in just five innings pitched.
Yea I mean, five walks man, said Buchholz to himself afterthe game, as he leaned back in his chair disgusted with himself. I was alwaystold, Let them get hits and beat you. I feel like I should have beenpenned with this loss today, the way that went. Eliminate two of those walks,maybe thats two runs they dont score and we win the game.
Command was Bostons biggest issue on Friday night. Themanager saw that right from the get-go.
I thought it was a fight from the very beginning, forBuchholz to command, said Red Sox manager Terry Francona after the loss.The whole time, he just couldnt settle in and throw enough strikes.
Again, in the seventh we lead off with a walk, and theyexecute a hit and run, and the whole inning changes, added Francona. So allof a sudden youre playing in, and youre trying to do some things, and Jenkswasnt commanding very well.
Normally it comes down to command. Our guys have goodenough stuff. We just walked some people.
Not only did they walk them, but afterwards, they allowedthem to score.
I just never could find a feel, said Buchholz. I madesome big pitches when I needed to a couple times, but other than that, it was abattle all night . . . That was one of the most uncomfortable outings that Iveever been a part of.
You cant start an inning off that way, said Jenks. To goout there and get the first hitter is the most important thing youve got to doin that inning, and I just flat out stunk today.
Im not going to make any excuses, added Jenks, when askedabout the cold weather. It just wasnt there. All I can say is that I stunk.
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.