As well as Robbie Erlin pitched during his first two big league starts, the first road start of his career was a different story for the rookie left-hander.
Things however appeared to be breaking Erlin’s way early when he was helped by a terrific defensive effort by Chris Denorfia and Logan Forsythe in the bottom of the first when the two executed a relay perfectly after a David Ortiz double down the right field line. Forsythe threw Dustin Pedroia out at home and ended what could have been a disaster start for the rookie. Unfortunately, base-runners and high pitch-counts were exactly what continued to plague the left-hander at Fenway Park.
Although Erlin did not allow a run through the first two innings, his pitch-count stood at 42 after he finished the second frame. Erlin then worked another scoreless inning in the third, but his pitch-count continued to rise. Then in the bottom of the fourth, the bottom fell out for the rookie when he allowed a three-run double to Brandon Snyder. Erlin threw 93 pitches in 3.2 innings in his road starting debut, so it will be interesting to see if Bud Black gives him some extra rest before his next start.
Tim Stauffer came in and did his best in long relief as he saved the back-end of the Friars bullpen some extra work. Stauffer pitched 2.1 innings of relief and only gave up one run during his stint in the game. To their credit, Joe Thatcher and Dale Thayer both worked a scoreless inning apiece, but the four runs the Red Sox scored was too much of a cushion for the Padres’ paltry offense to overcome.
San Diego’s hitters once again looked lost as their lineup managed to only plate one run on a Jesus Guzman solo dinger in the top of the seventh. The Padres have been so anemic offensively that they have scored only one run in the last 20 innings! For those of you playing at home, Carlos Quentin‘s two-run home run as a pinch-hitter on Saturday was the last time the team scored a run outside of Guzman’s solo shot.
Chase Headley got the collar once again tonight with another hit-less game under his belt. I’m just glad that the Friars’ management didn’t lavish an enormous contract on their third baseman before the season began. I know that hand and wrist injuries are difficult for any player to return from, but Headley’s lack of production since his return has been nothing short of laughable.
The 2012 National League RBI-leader’s batting average (.218) has now dipped to below the “Mendoza Line,” and I for one have become more inclined to believe that his strong finish to last season was an anomaly. Then again, Headley did not particularly light things up during the season’s first three months last year either. Still, the veteran’s performance has been difficult to watch at times as of late and San Diego’s 1-4 hitters went a combined 0-15 on the night!
I think that it is pretty safe to say that the Padres need Yonder Alonso, Jedd Gyorko, and Everth Cabrera back in their every-day lineup if they want to continue to stay competitive through the summer. Although their replacements have performed admirably during their absences, they cannot be counted on to produce at the same levels as the three injured starters. Then again, I am not sure those three would have been able to rattle John Lackey who pitched eight strong innings for Boston tonight.
Edinson Volquez will be on the hill for the Padres at 4:10 P.M. PDT tomorrow. The Friars have lost four in a row on their current East Coast road-trip, and hopefully Volquez can get them back on the right track.
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