Even with a strong performance from 36 year-old, and 14-year veteran, Kevin Millwood, the PawSox failed to earn a win which could have bought them one game closer to first place in the IL North (IronPigs lost 2-1 to the Bisons) by a score of 3-2.
Millwood pitched 5 2/3 innings, gave up three runs on eight hits, struck out 10 and walked three. He allowed the PawSox to stay in the game, but the offense lacked the power tonight to avoid handing Millwood his first loss in the PawSox uniform; he is now 5-1 with an ERA of 4.58 during his time in Pawtucket. He threw 110 pitches (69 for strikes) proving to his skeptics that his aging arm can still power through since he has thrown 100+ pitches in four starts with the PawSox.
The Bats jumped to an early 2-0 lead in the third inning off a two-run double by center fielder Denis Phipps. They then added their third run, and the eventual game-winning run, in the sixth off a single by shortstop Kristopher Negron with two outs; Millwood retired the first two batters, catcher Devin Mesoraco and first baseman Daniel Dorn, on strikeouts, but then allowed three straight singles.
After being down 2-0 in the third, the PawSox erased said lead off RBI by Lars Anderson and Luis Exposito aided by three straight walks by Bats starter Travis Wood, who allowed a total of eight walks, to Che-Hsuan Lin, Hector Luna and Ryan Lavarnway. Wood’s eight walks should have boosted the PawSox’s chances of winning, but the offense only earned four hits tonight (three off Wood). His walks proved costly as he raised his BB/9 from 1.27 to 2.90, but he still earned the win; he has only pitched in seven games (2-1, 3.35).
Jeremy Kehrt and Hideki Okajima combined to pitch scoreless ball in 3 1/3 innings of relief, along with one hit and four strikeouts.
In response to my own article about Ryan Lavarnway and Devin Mesoraco. Both had no hits tonight: Lavarnway, 0-2 with three walks and two strikeouts (his eighth two-strikeout game in 11 games), Mesoraco 0-4, two strikeouts.
Controversy arose in the seventh-inning when Lars Anderson was pulled in favor of Daniel Nava. With the trade deadline looming, immediate rumors spread about Anderson being part of a deal.
When first asked about being pulled Anderson said, ” I don’t know man. There are rumors I didn’t like my walk-up music and took myself out from the game.”
What were the rumors? Well with the Colorado Rockies having talks with the Red Sox about a deal involving starter Ubaldo Jimenez, everybody assumed Anderson was part of a package to the Rockies, but that wasn’t the case.
In fact, Anderson, and a player to be named later, was traded to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for starter Rich Harden. Not even his former manger Arnie Beyeler knew what was going on, well based off this statement. “I got a call to take him out of the game. So I took him out of the game.”
In 103 games with the PawSox this season (out of 108 total), Anderson batted .261/.362/.420 with 10 homeruns and 58 RBI. He was in a severe homerun drought during the first five weeks of the season (30 games, 125 at-bats), but maintained one aspect of his game: walks. He leaves the IL with the most walks this season (59) and as spent the majority of the season on top of that leader board; he was third in BB% with 13.4. In regards to slugging-percentage, average and on-base slugging percentage, he was in the bottom half for first basemen in the IL, but was top four with his .362 on-base percentage among IL first basemen.
Anderson was regarded as the top prospect of the Red Sox organization after the 2008 season, but has dropped since then; he was ranked eighth entering the 2011 season according to Baseball America; leaves the Red Sox out of the top 20 according to Soxprospects.com.
In 2010 he earned his first stint in the bigs. In 18 games, he batted .200/.326/.229 with no homeruns and four RBI. His only time in the majors proved to the Sox that his dropping value was no joke. When the Red Sox traded for Adrian Gonzalez during the offseason, it confirmed Anderson’s time with the organization was over, as discussed in my 2011 PawSox season preview.
His last at-bat with the Red Sox organization: a fly out to Bats’ right fielder Felix Perez in the fifth inning.
Rich Harden will provided for the Red Sox has they look to stay in the hunt for an eighth World Series championship. In nine seasons in the majors, spanning with three different teams — Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics — he is 57-35 with a 3.65 ERA, which appears to be a solid piece to the Sox rotation, but Harden has been known for his injuries. He doesn’t need to go out a light it up every start because he will be a fourth or fifth man, he just needs to provide the Sox with some consistency in order to make this trade work. Besides, the Red Sox pretty much got him for nothing.