It's hard to be too negative since we took two out of three from Boston but there were a lot of things that pissed me off.
Anytime Alex Sanchez is your DH you need to start asking questions about the guy managing your team. Josh Phelps and Jonny Gomes both sat on the bench today while that worthless piece of crap started in an OFFENSIVE position in the two hole. Having Singleton in center with Gomes on the bench was stupid too. Phelps should NEVER have a day off, he's your DH and has the potential to put up a very good season.
What is up with the top of this lineup? How does Crawford, Sanchez, Lugo make any sense whatsoever? So they're all fast, so what? That's pretty irrelevant, lineups need to be made based on HITTING ability, not footspeed.
I know this wasn't Lou's fault but it was a bad decision. Why use Eduardo Perez to pinch-hit for Sanchez? He's not good against right-handed pitching and you knew that once the pinch-hitter was announced the Sox would bring in Timlin. Phelps is the blatantly obvious choice in that situation.
You have a guy that is known to be slow to the plate and easy to steal on, so you choose this game to start the catcher with the weaker arm. Brilliant! The Sox had that figured out pretty easily and were taking advantage of it before Johnson got hurt and left.
Pitcher usage on Saturday
Why was Waechter starting? The last time he did anything to suggest that he even belonged on a major league roster was September of 2003! Lou continues to deny Fossum the opportunity he earns and deserves far more than the likes of Waechter and Webb. I thought Waechter should have been pulled after the second inning. He obviously had nothing out there and shouldn't have been left in the game to do further damage. The Rays lucked out and he settled down some (if you called giving up two mammoth shots to Ortiz "settling down") but it shouldn't have come to that. So Fossum comes in pitches two scoreless innings and was excellent in the second one, but he gets pulled for McClung to start the 8th. WHY? Why why why why WHY? He hasn't been good at all, Fossum was doing great and has no trouble going several innings, but he gets a completely undeserved chance in a close game anyway! The result was predictable with Miller coming in and saving his (and Lou's) butt. Speaking of Miller, what was up with that? He's ready when the left-handed Vazquez is up but doesn't come in despite McClung sucking it up. He's then brought in to face the right-handed Bellhorn. Now, I'm not complaining about that, I've argued before for using Miller for more than just LOOGY situations. The problem is that a struggling right-hander was left in to face a left-handed batter when the Sox didn't have much in the way of options to pinch-hit for him. Then with Damon and Nixon (two left-handers) starting the next inning, Carter was brought in to start the inning. Why? It doesn't even make sense platoon wise and Lou usually chases platoon advantages too much so it's crazy that he didn't do it here. Damon doesn't matter really since he doesn't have much of a split but having a lefty face Nixon was a no-brainer. The Sox have to make a choice with both options being unappealing. Either Nixon stays in and faces the lefty or Payton is used as a pinch-hitter, resulting in Carter being brought in to face him.
He needs to go down to Triple-A. He isn't getting the job done and has looked awful for the most part this season. Once Hendrickson comes back McClung needs to go to Durham and stay there until he dominates. Same with Waechter once Colome is back. I don't give a damn that they have a "bulldog mentality" or are "aggressive and competitive" on the mound. They haven't performed and need to spend time in the minors until they prove they can actually pitch well. The Rays are screwing the team and possibly hurting the futures of these two as they're going to bounce around, maybe starting (and getting shelled), maybe relieving (and getting shelled), and having Lou Piniella riding their asses trying to be "motivational."
As for Rob Bell, I don't know. He's mediocre but isn't this awful. Maybe mechanics, maybe he's hiding an injury. He has shown he can pitch in the majors, if not all that well, so I don't want to go off the deep end on him yet. It's getting bad though, he was atrocious today, throwing two balls way over the batters' heads.
I really don't think that Carter threw at Ortiz intentionally. Why would he, and why would he throw at his head? Carter has never been that kind of guy.
Carter had to be ejected of course but how does the fat man stay in? All of a sudden it's ok to try and charge the mound and start a bench-clearing brawl?
Whatever Carter and Piniella get for nearly hitting Ortiz, Arroyo and Francona better get worse for hitting Singleton. Mike Timlin was warming up the whole time the previous half-inning, it was blatantly obvious that Arroyo only went out for the 7th to hit Singleton in retaliation.