Daniel Bard got off to a decent start yesterday. Going into the 6th, Bard had allowed 7 hits and 3 runs. He had also just shutdown 7 straight batters, but when he got into a jam in the 6th, with a walk and a hit leaving runners on the corners with no outs, Bobby Valentine went to the pen and brought in pitcher Justin Thomas. Thomas entered the game with the Sox down two runs, but after allowing a walk, a single, and a sac fly, Thomas finished up the night after one inning, and the Red Sox were now in a 6-1 hole.
The seventh inning saw a solo shot off Michael Bowden, giving the Blue Jays a seven run lead.
The Sox finally got the bats moving in the ninth. After Jays closer started the ninth striking out both Cody Ross and Jarod Saltalamacchia, Nick Punto started the rally with a single to center. Jacoby Ellsbury walked with a full count. Next batter, Dustin Pedroia roped a single into left, loading the bases. Adrian Gonzalez then promptly cleared those bases with a screaming double to right. Then red hot David Ortiz struck out to end the night.
So now we've gone through the rotation once. We saw (ranked from best to worst)
1. Jon Lester pitched outstanding on opening day vs. reigning Cy Young winner Justin Verlander. He allowed 7 hits through 7 innings and only one earner run. The Sox offense wasn't able to help out Lester, as they ended up losing to Detroit 3-2 in the season opener.
2. Felix Dubront through for 5 complete innings, allowing only 4 hits and two runs on April 9th against Toronto. Though he didn't get the win, the Sox went on to get their only win so far of the season during his start after rallying later in the game 4-2.
3. Daniel Bard. I already told you about last nights start. Nothing great as his final numbers were 5 innings, 5 runs, 8 hits, but he was fairly effective until the 5th when the pen allowed in two of his earned runs. Despite how well he pitches (and last night was definitely not done well enough to earn him a spot in the rotation) Bard could easily find himself back in the pen soon if they continue pitching the way they are. We desperately need help out there, and as little as Bard may like it, that may be the place he'll help us most.
4. Josh Becketts disastrous start on April 7th in Detroit was nearly identical to Clay Buchholz's performance a day later, but I had to give Beckett the edge, only because he pitched .2 more innings more. Becketts start saw the Red Sox get shut out, and Beckett last only 4.2 innings, allowing 7 earned runs and 5 home runs on 7 hits. Beckett also got no help from the offense. The result? An embarrassing 10-0 loss from the teams supposed ace.
5. Clay Buchholz had hi first start since last June, and you could tell. In 4 innings Buchholz allowed 7 runs on 8 hits. Fortunately for the pitching staff, strong pitching wasn't needed, as the Sox scored 12 runs on the night. Unfortunately, decent pitching was needed, and after blown saves from both Alfredo Aceves with a 3 run lead in the ninth, then Mark Melancon in the 12th, the Sox still lost a heartbreaker in Detroit 13-12.