The Weekend Takeaway
Red Sox fans watched the 2011 season come to a close while singing a certain Green Day song, as their team suffered a historic collapse. Well, the calendar says April now, but after a weekend sweep at the hands of the Tigers, it’s as though September never ended.
Detroit walked off with a 3-2 win on Friday, routed Boston 10-0 on Saturday, and finally inflicted the deathblow on Sunday. A 10-7 Red Sox lead in the ninth inning went “poof!” with Miguel Cabrera’s three-run homer off interim closer Alfredo Aceves. A 12-10 Red Sox edge in the 11th inning turned into a 13-12 Tigers victory when Alex Avila deposited a pitch from Mark Melancon over the right-field wall.
Sunday’s game was the first time in the Red Sox’ storied history that the team lost a game in which it twice held multi-run leads after the eighth inning. It also marked just the seventh time in franchise history that the Sox lost a game in which they scored 12 or more runs. And it was the cherry on top of a weekend series during which the Red Sox bullpen combined for this staggering line: 11
Things don’t get any easier from here, with a trip to Toronto followed by a nine-game homestand against Tampa Bay, Texas, and New York. Off to an ominous 0-3 start, manager Bobby Valentine can only hope that he finds the prescription to cure his pitching staff’s malaise across the border.
What to Watch for on Monday
- The wait is finally over for Rangers fans eager to see Yu Darvish in official action. He’ll get the ball against the Mariners (8:05 p.m. ET), who will counter with their own off-season addition, former Yankees farmhand Hector Noesi. Moments after Darvish’s first pitch, the eyes of a nation more than 8,000 miles away will be glued to television screens as Ichiro Suzuki, now Seattle’s number-three hitter, steps into the batter’s box in Arlington to face his countryman.
- Ryan Braun might have tuned out the boo birds in spring training, but Monday’s Brewers road opener (7:05 p.m. ET) at Wrigley Field will be a greater challenge for the “exonerated” outfielder. Just ask his new teammate, third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who knows Cubs fans as well as anyone in the league. The hecklers are sure to be out in full force, and Braun will be well within earshot in left field.
Jeff Samardzija showed promise in his debut as a starter, tossing 8
2/3innings of one-run ball, striking out eight, and walking none in a Cubs win over the Nationals. Today, the crosstown White Sox will get their first regular-season look at their own reliever-turned-starter, Chris Sale. The 23-year-old earned plenty of attention in March by posting a 28-to-4 K/BB over 28 innings, and he’ll hope to bring that success with him to Cleveland tonight (7:05 p.m. ET).