Monday, April 14, 2008
Another below average starting pitching performance bailed out by some timely hitting and surprisingly effective middle-relief work. Another ugly win, but most importantly: another win.
The Sox spent the first six innings squandering offensive opportunities. But Jon Lester was cruising until the 4th inning, when he allowed 2 runs. He gave up two more in the 6th before being replaced by Julian Tavarez. Tavarez pulled a rabbit out of a hat, stranded all three inherited runners and going 2.2 scoreless innings.
The Sox chipped away at the 4-1 Indians lead in the 7th when Pedroia knocked in Crisp with a single. Youkilis chipped away a little more with a solo shot in the 8th, his first of the year. Then in the 9th, a Lugo double, a Crisp sacrifice bunt, and a Pedroia sacrifice fly tied the game at 4-4. A few batters later, Ortiz singled, and Manny homered (#493, tied with Fred McGriff and Lou Gehrig).
Papelbon pitched a perfect 2 strikeout 9th for his 5th save. Paps is second on the team in strikeouts. Timlin got the win thanks to a perfect 8th inning. Ortiz also appeared to bust out of his lengthy slump with a couple of basehits.
Wakefield against Byrd Tuesday night.
AP Photo/Mark Duncan
Of the Red Sox 7 wins this season, very few have been pretty. Either the offense was stagnant, or the bullpen ineffective, or the starter didn't last long. Sunday's 8-5 victory over New York was one of those games.
From a positive perspective, these ugly wins feature a few bad performances, but those are countered by some great play by others.
Daisuke had the ugly performance. It wasn't hideous, but it was still thoroughly unattractive. He went 5 innings, threw 116 pitches (only 62 for strikes), walked 6, allowed 5 hits, 4 runs, and only struck out 2. It was the Daisuke we saw a lot of last year: nibbling on the edge of the plate, not challenging hitters, not getting guys out.
But Matsuzaka was bailed out by some good hitting, and great bullpen work. The Sox got to Phil Hughes for 7 runs, and chased him out of the game with no outs in the 3rd. The 4-5-6 combination of Manny, Youkilis, and Casey went 6 for 9 with 4 RBI and 4 runs scored. Every Sox starter except Varitek got on base at least once.
The much maigned middle-relievers were the savior of the game, though. Daisuke left it a 7-4 contest, still very much in doubt. Aardsma came in and threw 2 hitless innings. Timlin came in to pitch the 8th, but he looked dreadful, allowing a solo homer to Giambi, then two singles before being pulled. Out of nowhere, Javier Lopez comes in and records 4 straight outs before giving Delcarmen the ball.
This should tell you how bogus the Save stat is. Delcarmen pitched 0.2 innings to end the game, a 3 run game, but won't be credited with a Save. If he had gotten 3 outs, he gets a Save. Had a runner been on first base when he came in, he would have gotten a Save. Silliness.
The Red Sox are already in Cleveland for tonight's ALCS rematch. Jon Lester goes against Jake Westbrook.
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
AP Photo/Winslow Townson
Finally, after over a year of waiting, the Bruins have beaten the Canadiens! With the Sox winning multiple World Series, the C's dominating, and the Patriots nearly being perfect, we have forgotten the simple satisfaction of being an underdog and coming out on top. But the Bruins reminded us of that feeling last night with a 2-1 over-time victory.
Milan Lucic got the Bruins on the board first, and also got the first Boston lead over Montreal of the ENTIRE SEASON.
The first period ended with a scuffle, as Guillaume Iwearadress tried "fighting" Shane Hnidy. It looked more like Guillaume was trying to get lucky more than a fight. But what do you expect from the Canadiens?
Tom Kostopoulos tied it up in the second, and some missed opportunities by the Bruins kept it a 1-1 game through the 3rd. Then came the OT. I was in "The Greatest Bar" in Boston, just a couple of yards from the Garden, and I predicted a Bruins win about halfway through the over-time period. And I was right.
9:25 into over-time, a delayed penalty on Montreal allowed the Bruins to put 6 skaters on the ice. Amidst the confusion, Marc Savard slowly creeped in from the right-wing, across the face-off circle, received a cross-wing pass from Dennis Wideman, and beat Price to win the game.
Tim Thomas had a spectacular effort and made some huge saves down the stretch to keep the game alive.
Milan Lucic had one of his best games of the season, not only with the goal, but also leveling big hits, and forechecking brutally and efficiently.
The series continues Tuesday night in Boston.
AP Photo/Charles Krupa