Thursday, June 11, 2009
The Red Sox were not supposed to win this game. Brad Penny against CC Sabathia? Yet Brad Penny outdueled Sabathia with 6 shutout innings. Then Delcarmen craps the bed and the Yankees lead 3-1. So game over, right? Wrong. A magnificent 8th inning rally flipped a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead.
Dustin Pedroia's at-bat in the 8th was monstrous. Not only did he work a walk, but he did it by making Sabathia throw 10 pitches, ensuring that JD Drew would be the last batter he faced.
David Ortiz's homerun in the 2nd was the most encouraging of his 4. He hit it over the Monster, and hit it off a tough lefty who was on his A-Game. Without a doubt his most impressive homer of the season. His 2 for 3 night launched his average over the .200 mark for the first time since May 23.
Brad Penny may have saved his spot in the rotation. Or perhaps he's raised his pricetag on the trade market. If all the Sox get for him is some minor league short-stop, I'll be very disappointed.
This was a stolen victory, plain and simple. Some excellent defensive plays, taking full advantage of a shoddy bullpen, and a late inning comeback. Good teams steal wins like this one, and over the course of a 162 game season, they add up.
Man of the Game:
Brad Penny - 6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K
Another big series starts Friday night as the Sox travel to Philadelphia. The defending champs are leading the NL East by 4 games this season. Jon Lester faces Joe Blanton.
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
The Red Sox are 7-0 against the Yankees this season. Which is probably a partial product of playing them 5 times in Fenway (where the Sox have the 2nd best home record in baseball) and only twice in Yankee Stadium (the Sox have the 12th best road record in baseball).
But 7-0 is 7-0 is 7-0.
Chien-Ming Wang is atrocious this season. His 2.2 inning, 4 run outing actually lowered his ERA to 14.34. As a starter, he has a 21.60 ERA, and opponents are hitting .507 off him.
Hideki Okajima saved this game. Ramon Ramirez was struggling, but Francona utilized the depth he has in the bullpen. Which is yet another reason why a 6 man rotation is moronic. The Sox have a deep bullpen, why strain it when guys like Wakefield, Smoltz, Penny, and Matsuzaka are 5 to 6 inning pitchers at best?
Wakefield was solid, and he improved to 8-3 on the year. But let's not get too hard about it. 6 innings and 3 earned runs is nice, and that's it.
David Ortiz's hit streak was snapped at 7 games. It had been perhaps the most intensely followed 7 game hit streak in Boston baseball history. He was 0 for 2 with a pair of walks. The Ortiz Optimists will point to his 410 foot flyball out to centerfield as another sign of his impending comeback. The Papi Pessimists (like myself) will observe that when he hits the ball hard, he's hitting it to center. He's not pulling it to right.
The Sox go for the sweep tonight, but it's a bit of a mismatch. Sabathia faces Penny. And Penny might be pitching to stay in a Red Sox uniform, because Smoltz is making his final rehab start tonight in Syracuse.
AP Photo/Winslow Townson