I like Terry Francona, but I've never considered him funny. The giggling by the ESPN announcers last night was close to insufferable. If Francona and John Gruden jointly broadcast something with an ESPN play-by-play guy in the booth, the Guinness World Record for giggling by sports commentators would be shattered.
Franklin Morales pitched pretty well. He struck out 9 in 5 innings, allowing only 2 runs off 4 hits. He didn't walk anybody. An impressive 65 of the 80 pitches he threw were strikes. He threw more than 4 times as many strikes as balls.
That being said, the Cubs have the 4th worst offense in baseball. And they play in a hitter's park. They're 22nd in batting average, 27th in OBP, 24th in slugging, 26th in OPS. It's great that Morales shut them down, but they seem to frequently shut themselves down.
So the Sox did what they're supposed to do. They took 2 of 3 from a team that has a .333 winning percentage. If you want to build hopes on the results of this series, be my guest. But I'd hold off. The Cubs average 2 losses every 3 games. And the Sox beat them 2 of 3.
It was nice to see Morales do well as a spot-starter. And Pedroia swung well last night. If he gets hot, the Sox offense improves dramatically. Those are some positives to build on.
One thing that bugs me about the Red Sox is their frequent neglect at the fundamentals. It's as if they feel like they're too talented to concern themselves with the little things in the game. They're good enough to win just on talent, unless the win or the umpires or the schedule interferes.
In the 6th, the Sox committed two errors, and it allowed the Cubs to tie the game at 3-3. The worst was by Mike Aviles. With a runner on 1st, Pedroia was supposed to over 2nd in case the runner went. The runner went, the ball was chopped to Morales, but Aviles was charging to back Morales up. Aviles then tried to cover 2nd, even though Pedroia was already there. The ensuing drop allowed the Cubs to score, and eliminated a potential double-play.
The next half-inning, Saltalamacchia did the worst thing any baserunner can do: he assumed something. After hitting a single to right, he assumed the throw would go to home. So he decided to try to get to 2nd base. But the throw was cut off. Had it been handled cleanly, Saltalamacchia would have been thrown out. Thankfully, the Cubs suck and it was dropped.
Anyway, the Sox are back to .500 at 33-33. They're 7.5 behind the Yankees in the division, but only 4 out of the second Wild Card.
They have tonight off, then the Marlins come to town. Buchholz faces Mark Buehrle.