FaustoIf you’re a fan of pitchers duels, then this Red Sox/Indians series is what you are looking for. One night after Dice-K and the Red Sox beat the Indians 1-0, Fausto Carmona and the Indians returned the favor. Carmona was spectacular as his changeup was just downright nasty. He went 8 innings, giving up 4 hits, 2 walks and struck out 6. Josh Beckett wasn’t so bad himself either. He pitched a complete game, giving up 4 hits, 1 run, and struck out 7. Joe Borowski worked the 9th for his 29th save.

Both pitchers worked perfect innings in the first. In the 2nd, Carmona allowed a walk to Manny leading off the inning but got Kevin Youkilis to ground into a double play. He finished off the inning by retiring J.D. Drew on a ground ball to first.

Travis Hafner started off the 2nd inning by reaching on a Youkilis error at third base. Beckett got the hot hitting Ryan Garko to ground into a double play. Jhonny Peralta got the first hit of the game for the Indians with an infield single. Beckett got out of the inning by getting former Sox rightfielder Trot Nixon to strikeout on some high cheese.

The Indians struck for the only run of the game in the 3rd inning. Franklin Gutierrez took a fastball from Beckett and planted it in the seats in leftfield. Beckett followed that with a strikeout of Josh Barfield. Grady Sizemore got the third hit of the night off Beckett with a single bringing up Casey Blake. Beckett got out of the inning as he struck out Blake and Varitek threw out Sizemore for a strike’em-out-throw’em-out double play.

In the 4th inning, Coco lead off with a ground ball out. Carmona then plunked Pedroia in the ribs. With Big Papi at the plate, Pedroia went to second on a passed ball by Victor Martinez. That’s as far as he would get as Carmona got strikeouts of Big Papi and Manny to get out of the inning.

The Sox squandered a chance in the 6th inning as they finally got a hit. After Alex Cora lined out, Coco broke up Carmona’s no-no with an infield single that Peralta had no chance of getting Coco on. With Pedroia at the plate, Carmona threw a ball up-and-in that he took exception to. Pedroia ended up grounding out but Coco advanced to third. Big Papi then hit a single to Barfield, who was stationed in shallow right. Barfield threw home trying to get Coco and he did as his throw just beat the semi-slide of Coco. If Manny had been doing his job as the on-deck batter, he would have been there telling Coco to slide a bit earlier. But he didn’t and that ended the inning.

The Red Sox blew a chance to score in the 8th with some poor baserunning. Jason Varitek led off the inning with a single off of Carmona. Hinske followed that with a fly out. With Cora at the plate, Varitek was thrown out as he started to go to second and turned around. Garko applied the tag and all of the sudden there was two outs. It did look as though it was a case of a missed sign by Cora or Tek. Cora ended up reaching on an infield single and was pinch-run for by Julio Lugo. Lugo was thrown out stealing to end the 8th inning with Coco at the plate.
If you had forgotten, Beckett was still pitching for the Red Sox and just cruising right along throwing strikes. Beckett had set down 14 batters in a row since the 3rd inning, before Nixon broke up that little streak with a single to right in the 8th. Jason Michaels came into run for Nixon but was left stranded there as Beckett got Gutierrez to strikeout and Barfield on a fly ball to right.

Borowski came on in the 9th for Carmona and had an uneventful inning. He retired Coco and Pedroia on strikeouts and jammed Big Papi on a fastball that he popped to third base.

I guess the biggest question right now is what will happen tomorrow when Kason Gabbard and Cliff Lee take the mound. I sure as heck hope not. Hopefully these last two games open up the yes of the Red Sox brass to show them they need some help on offense. Although, I am probably going to contradict myself by saying when the way these pitchers were throwing, it’s hard to argue that a team needs offensive help.

Notes and Musings:


The last time that Carmona faced the Red Sox was back in 2006 when he was the closer du jour for the Indians. On July 31, 2006 he allowed a 3-run walk-off homerun to Big Papi and on August 2nd, 2006 he gave up a walk-off RBI double to Mark Loretta. In one total inning of work, he was 0-2 with 45.00 ERA in his career vs the Sox.

Curt Schilling will make his second rehab start tomorrow for the Pawsox in Toledo. Schill was in the dugout for the game and will fly to Toledo for his start tomorrow instead of driving 90 minutes.

Joel Piñero decided to accept an assignment to Pawtucket rather than be released after being designated for assignment on Monday. The Sox had tried to trade him but found no takers. He actually started for Pawtucket tonight and was set to throw 3 innings. He will work as a starter down there. It is strange to see a player accept his assignment. Most usually opt for their release if they aren’t traded.

The Sox have sent Allard Baird out to scout the Dodgers Triple-A team as one of the guys the Sox have their eyes on is Andy LaRoche. The Dodgers are in need of bullpen help. They also have their sights on Mark Teixeira, Ty Wigginton, Jermaine Dye and Bobby Kielty.

Schilling was interview by Bob Costas recently and it aired on HBO’s “Costas Now” last night and as usual, he was very outspoken. If you’d like to see what he said, click here.

Julio Lugo’s hitting streak will stay at 14 games as he is on the bench for tonight’s game. Mike Lowell got the night off as well. Terry Francona had asked both if they wanted tonight or Friday night off and the both chose tonight.

Ryan Garko’s 17 game hitting streak came to an end as he went 0 for 3. Even though he appeared in the game as pinch-runner, Lugo’s hitting streak is now the longest at 14 games as he didn’t receive an at-bat. A big thanks to Nick Cafardo for answering that question for me.

The Red Sox came into the game with the lowest team ERA in AL at 3.72