Friday, October 18, 2013

Red Sox Escape Detroit in Drivers' Seat

The Red Sox have adjusted to Anibal Sanchez since Game 1. They got their first hit of the series off him in the 1st inning. Then scored the first run off him in the 2nd. The Sox came out swinging in this game. They were not on the backfoot, not on the defensive. As we've seen all season with this team, losing only makes them more aggressive and ferocious in their next game. They don't fall back and regroup. They instantly counterattack. Like a cornered animal.

Mike Napoli spearheaded the Red Sox offense. He went 3 for 4 with a double and a homerun. He's hitting .375 in the series. His solo homerun in Game 3 was what gave the Sox a 1-0 lead (and eventual win). His solo homerun in Game 5 turned out to be the difference in Game 5. In a series of three one-run games, Napoli's two solo homeruns have won two games.

Jon Lester was not Ace-like in this game. He didn't have to be. He played with fire throughout his 5.1 innings, giving up 7 hits and walking 3. Though he never got burnt. Only 2 runs scored on his watch but his inability to go deep into the game made the Sox vulnerable. Lester did his job, but he also made the jobs of others harder.

I like Junichi Tazawa, but I don't trust him. Not in a 1-run game. I have partial trust in Craig Breslow, barely enough for a 1-run game. I trust Koji Uehara implicitly, any game, any situation. Red Sox starters need to pitch into the 7th inning in order to avoid exposing the soft underbelly of the bullpen. Breslow and Uehara are the only bullpen arms Sox fans should want to see in the late innings.

The series returns to Boston Saturday evening at 4:30pm. Clay Buchholz faces Max Scherzer. I honestly have no idea what to expect in that game. And that's what has made this series such a thrill to watch.

Photo Credit:
USA Today

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