I walked up to Fenway as the National Anthem ended. The weather spat on me all the way to the park. As I sat down in my seat, the rain began to fall more seriously. Keeping score was impossible. The pages were wet and difficult to write on. The ink that was on the page spread like little puddles of ink. It was a sign from above.
For the first inning or so it wasn’t all that bad for watching the game, but then the rain really started to come down with a purpose and by the time the game was delayed in the fifth I was cold and wet. Deb, my partner in crime for the evening, and I decided that by the time we got home to warmth and a comfy couch the game would restart and it would be a way more comfortable place to watch this rain soaked game, so we left. I felt a bit bad because I don’t usually leave games early. But, I was soaked and two more hours of wet didn’t seem very attractive. While I was bummed I missed the Nava/Salty back to back jacks, I was not at all upset that I missed the Hanrahan implosion. That was ugly and being wet and cold would have made it even worse.
I’ve been saying this since the season started: Hanrahan should not be our closer. I hate the fact that the Sox anointed him closer right after they traded for him. Why do that? What’s wrong with a like competition during spring training? Hanrahan had a mediocre season last year. His control deteriorated. Both his walk and HR allowed rate increased. His ground ball percentage went down and his fly ball percentage went up. Not good signs for a closer. I predict Hanrahan will not be our closer come May 15. The Sox won’t make a move now, but if he blows many more saves we are fortunate enough to have Bailey, Tazawa and Uehara. All reasonable options. And, in my mind, better choices then Hanrahan.
The bottom line – this was a painful loss. Dempster managed to wriggle his way out of a couple of jams and left with the game tied 3-3. I didn’t really like what I saw from Dempster and was pretty happy that he only allowed 3 runs. I don’t know why I felt this way. Three of Dempster’s five innings were 1-2-3 jobs. The other two, though, felt like we were slogging through molasses. It is never a good thing to give back a lead your team just gave you. That is precisely what Dempster did in the fourth. Up 3-1 after a walk, a triple and a sac fly, Dempster promplty took the mound and gave up no doubt bomb to Nick Markakis. Jones laced a single to center, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a solid single by Matt Wieters. Lead and momentum gone. Then the rain came and I left.
At home, I was kicking myself when Nava and Salty went back to back. Then Uehara, Tazawa and Bailey did their thing. It was a beautiful sight. The only thing missing was Hanrahan doing his thing. Ruination at the end of a bullpen script the Sox have been dreaming of all winter long.
For the series finale, we get to watch crazy man Aceves against Chris Tillman. I have no idea what to expect from either pitcher. Much was expected of Tillman after his solid finish to 2012. But he started this season with a stink bomb.
Aceves is 5-2 against the O’s with a 2.31 ERA. At Fenway, Aceves has a 4.58 career ERA in 116 IP. Nothing to glean from the stats. With Aceves it seems the side of the bed he woke up on might be the best indicator of success.