Brian Fuentes blew his 7th save of the season last night going for his league leading 42nd. The Red Sox came back from a one-run deficit on 2 walks, 2 infield singles, and a blooper that Juan Rivera may or may not have been able to catch if he decided to run, all with two outs.
The big moment of controversy came with the Angels up a run and the bases full of Sox. The Red Sox batted their 2nd of 3 straight shortstops with the imposing and ever-intimidating, Nick Green. Green got fastball after fastball mostly right down the cock, and fouled them off or took them to get to a full count.
Angel’s manager Mike Scioscia joked of the at bat, “What was the count at the end, 3-4 to Green?” The big pitch was a 3-2 that appeared knee high, but was called low by homeplate umpire Rick Reed. Green took his base, and the Sox took the game on a hit by SS #3, Alex Gonzalez.
The Angels closer was disgusted by the call Catcher Mike Napoli and Scioscia were also visibly miffed. Fuentes implied the umps wanted to make it out of Beantown alive by saying, “Especially here and some other places, they seem timid to make calls.” Fuentes said he’s heard this from “other guys” as well, and maybe “other guys” have a point, but not Fuentes, not last night.
I’m not saying the pitch was a ball. K-Zone had it well in the zone, but what I am saying is that Fuentes pitched terribly. The lefty struggled to find the area after quickly getting two outs. Fuentes threw only 14 of his 27 pitches for strikes. Umpires are rarely going to give borderline calls to lower-level closers who are struggling to find the zone. If he was Mariano Rivera or Papelbon, or K Rod, in any stadium, he gets that call, and if he does not get that call, he can bitch about it. But he’s Brian Fuentes, and until he grows a pair, he is gonna continue being the Brian Fuentes with a 4.45 ERA, 7 Blown saves, and 5 losses.
This guy is going to hurt the Angels in the playoffs, but I have a feeling Scioscia may find a solution before that could come to be. He is not a closer. Fuentes gets saves because he gets chances.
So, in closing, I hate the Red Sox because last night was bullshit, but I hate Fuentes more for being a whiny prick about the umpire when he put his team in a spot to lose the game.