Thursday, July 24, 2008
BELIEVE IT OR NOT, THE SOX WON ON THE ROAD, AND IT WAS THANKS TO THE BULLPEN
The Red Sox bullpen pitched 6.2 innings of scoreless relief in yesterday's 6-3 12 inning victory. Justin Masterson made his first relief appearance, going 2.2 perfect innings with 3 strikeouts. Papelbon pitched into and out of a jam and got the win. Craig Hansen allowed 2 hits and a walk, but got the save. It wasn't pretty, but the Sox have to take what they can get out of this bullpen.
This was the first time in 2008 that the Red Sox have swept a 3 game road series. And a 3-3 West Coast swing isn't all that bad. But the Mariners are the only sub .400 team in the American League. They were 20-29 at home coming into this series, and had just dropped 2 of 3 to the lowly Indians. Sweeping them is hardly something to be impressed with.
It's been very difficult to establish any sort of consistent feelings on this team. When they beat good teams at home, they look like the best club in baseball. But even when they sweep a team like Seattle, their flaws are so obvious and blatant.
Yesterday, for instance, the bullpen pitched 6.2 scoreless innings, but both Okajima and Hansen struggled. Buchholz pitched a decent 5.1 innings, but he let up 2 homeruns, and was unable to go deep into the game. Mike Lowell had a big hit in the 12th, but the Red Sox left the bases loaded twice, and couldn't buy a hit with runners in scoring position.
Yet they lead the Wild Card by 3 games, are only 0.5 behind Tampa for the division, and have the 2nd best run differential in baseball.
Speaking of the Wild Card and the AL East, the New York Yankees come to town on Friday for a three game set.
Friday - Joba Chamberlain vs. Josh Beckett
Saturday - Tim Wakefield vs. Andy Pettitte
Sunday - Jon Lester vs. Sidney Ponson
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson