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Sox Lose Wild Card Lead, Youk For Five Games But Add Alex Gonzalez

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Red Sox Record for the Week of August 10: 4-3

Frustrated. That is the operative word to describe the state of Red Sox Nation. And as I will explain later, this frustration isn’t limited to the fans but the players and manager as well. Just when you think the Sox have turned a corner (via taking three of four from Detroit), they hit a speed bump or two this past weekend and watched their prime Wild Card opponent (Texas) race ahead of them in the standings.

In an all-too-short four-game home series versus Detroit last week, the Sox knocked around the Tigers’ number two starter Edwin Jackson, who unconventionally gave up nine hits and four earned runs in just four innings last Monday, August 10. The Tigers rallied in the top of the seventh to tie the game at 5-5 but Nick Green’s SF to score J.D. Drew won the game in the bottom of the inning, and the Sox’s long six-game losing streak finally came to an end.

Tuesday (August 11) brought on some fortunate and unfortunate events that everyone around Boston is still talking about. The pitching match-up was between two youngsters: 20-year-old Rick Porcello for Detroit and Junichi Tazawa for Boston, who was making his first career start. Both had control problems early, as Tazawa hit slugger Miguel Cabrera in the left hand in the first inning on an 0-2 count and with two base runners on, which forced him out of the game soon after. He was also beaned by a Brad Penny pitch the night before.

Kevin Youkilis too had been hit by a pitch last Monday (by Edwin Jackson) but last Tuesday night, after getting drilled in the back by a Porcello pitch in the bottom of the second, he threw his helmet and charged the mound, only to end up on his back, get ejected (along with Porcello) and eventually suspended for the next five games.

To me, it was obvious there was no intent by either pitcher to intentionally hit opposing batters. This was a case of two young pitchers trying to pitch inside – and failing miserably. Youk has every right to be frustrated with getting hit again and again but should have reacted like Ian Kinsler of Texas did over the weekend – bitch at the opposing (Boston) pitcher and catcher, then take your base.

For Youk to charge the mound – like Coco Crisp did in June of 2008 when he went after James Shields – was stupid and selfish, and he knows it. It’s too late now because the Sox missed his crucial bat in its lineup the next five games, of which they only won two without him. Crisp got suspended for seven games for his part in last year’s brawl but with Youk throwing his helmet at Porcello in addition to charging the mound, he’s lucky it didn’t cost him more than the five he got.

As for Porcello, Tigers fans have every right to be pissed that Porcello got the same punishment as Youk. MLB disciplinarian Bob Watson ruled that he intentionally tried to hit Victor Martinez and Youkilis. Keep in mind that the ump issued no warnings to either team before Youk got hit, Porcello had a 3-0 lead at the time he hit him and that he never actually hit V-Mart. But hey, Red Sox players have gotten unfair punishment from Watson in recent history so Detroit, welcome to the club. Fans on either side can argue about the fight and suspensions all day and night but it’s over now and both players are expected to play their first post-suspension games tonight.

About Charlie Doherty

Copy editor/content writer for Penn Multimedia; print/web journalist/freelancer, formerly for Boston Examiner, EMSI, Demand Media, Brookline TAB, Suite 101 and Helium.com; co-head sports editor & asst. music editor at Blogcritics Magazine; Media Nation independent newspaper staff writer, printed/published by the Boston Globe at 2004 DNC (Boston, MA). See me on twitter.com/chucko33, myspace.com/charlied, & Facebook.