Thursday, September 17, 2009
WILD SOX WIN WILD ONE AT FENWAY, EXTEND WILD CARD LEAD
The Red Sox used 22 different players to beat the Angels 9-8 last night, in a 4 hour thriller. The last three batters of the game were all short-stops: Jed Lowrie, Nick Green, and Alex Gonzalez. That should tell you how strange this game was.
Paul Byrd had a Paul Byrd start. He's not going to win games for you, but he won't lose them either. That's the role of as #5 starter, and so long as Buchholz and Matsuzaka are doing well, Byrd can have as many 5.1 IP, 3 ER games as he wants.
But the bullpen was awful. Ramon Ramirez blew a 2 run lead in the 7th. Then Daniel Bard blew a tied game in the top of the 9th. Thankfully, there is depth to the pen. Okajima, Delcarmen, and Saito registered 1 quality inning apiece, and the Sox desperately needed those to stay in the game.
Ramirez's runs came after a passed ball 3rd strike by Varitek. Now, if Victor Martinez had made this same mistake, the Cult of Varitek would be all over him, just like they were when he caught a bad Buchholz outing a few weeks ago (how's Buchholz-Martinez worked out since then?). Varitek fucked up and it nearly cost the Sox a big win. Oh yeah, he was also 0 for 2, dropping his average to .213. But at least he's hotter in September (.143 average) than he was in August (.135).
By and large, the Sox performance wasn't impressive. However, their character was. They stuck with this game, despite the Angels' incessant rallying. And in the end, they got the W.
By the way, the Rangers lost, and so did the Rays. Tampa Bay is now 5th in the Wild Card, 14 games behind the Sox. Nice collapse.
The Sox go for the sweep Thursday night as Ervin Santana takes on Josh Beckett. With series like this one, and the weather as chilly as it is, doesn't it feel like October?
AP Photo/Elise Amendola