Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Hard Way

The Red Sox inched a game closer to the Rays. They did it the hard way.

In a four-hour marathon of a game, the two teams combined for 87 at bats, 37 hits, 36 runs, 36 men left on base, 35 RBI's, 13 walks, four errors, and only 12 strikeouts. The two teams used a total of 11 pitchers that threw a combined to throw more than 400 pitches.

By the end of it all, the Red Sox won by a final score of 19-17, a score more indicative of a football game rather than a baseball game.

While it's not encouraging that the bullpen trio of Javy Lopez, David Aardsma, and Manny Delcarmen combined to give up seven earned runs in two innings (a combined raging 31.50 ERA for those three pitchers in that two innings), it was good to see Hideki Okajima come in and put out the fire - stem the bleeding so to speak.

Other game observations...

David Ortiz looked like his wrist isn't bothering him so much right now. He had two home runs (in the first inning), one wrapped around the Pesky Pole, one to dead center, and a ground rule double to the triangle in center. For the game he was 3 for 4 with four runs scored and six RBI's.

In the bottom of the eighth, with two outs, the game tied at 16 and Dustin Pedroia on, Texas manager Ron Washington chose to intentionally walk David Ortiz (batting .260 this year) to get to Kevin Youkilis - the same Kevin Youkilis that is second on the team with a .316 batting average, leads the team in home runs with 22 (21 before his final at bat last night), and RBI's with 81.

To that point in the game Youkilis was 1 for 4 (home run) with two strikeouts and two RBI's. Youk, about due for another hit, made Washington pay for his choice, hitting a three run shot that cleared the Monster where the Wall meets the centerfield triangle. To borrow from Bull Durham - anything hit that far oughta have a stewardess.

Other positives include the fact that knuckleballer Charlie Zink pitched reasonably well into the fifth inning against a heavy hitting Texas lineup before the wheels fell off. I'll generally take four-plus innings from someone who never had a major league start before.

JD Drew continues to have a strong season with two hits, an RBI and three runs scored. Jason Bay continues to justify the trade with another RBI as he continues to hit over .300. But it's the middle infield that's tearing it up.

Jed Lowrie continues to make Theo Epstein's choice to give Julio Lugo a three year deal look foolish as he had another two hits, another two RBI's, and a run scored. His battery-mate at second, Dustin Pedroia is the Mighty-Mite, the Mini-Monster, He's become the Red Sox toughest out. For the game he was 5 for 6 with five runs scored and two batted in - including the RBI that tied the ballgame.

Lester goes next, then Matsuzaka, and Beckett likely followed by new acquisition Paul Byrd. Byrd should make things interesting at the back end of the rotation.


Dave said...

I'd pay someone to take Lugo at this point. I don't see how you could justify not starting Lowrie in 2009.

Kevin Smith said...

I agree - I gotta believe that the lineup for opening day next season has gotta have Youk, Dusty, Lowrie, and Lowell working the in-field with Bay, Ellsbury, and Drew in the OF. I just don't know who's gonna be behind the plate - but I would be surprised if Varitek is back, given his offensive struggles this season.