Monday, August 25, 2008

Red Sox Win 6-5 Over Toronto in Extra Innings

Now, that was quite a game. As expected, Daisuke Matsuzaka and AJ Burnett went toe to toe and came away pretty even. Dice-K went 6 innings, allowed 8 hits and 5 earned runs while striking out 8 and walking only 1. AJ went 7 innings, allowed 7 hits and 5 earned runs while striking out 7 and walking 3. Both pitchers gave up 2 home runs. So, that left the game in the hands of the bullpens.
AJ Burnett

The Red Sox bullpen has not been overly reliable lately, but yesterday they got the job done. Justin Masterson was sharp as he went 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Hideki Okajima nailed down the final two outs of the 8th inning before turning it over to Jonathan Papelbon, who got 6 straight outs to bring the game to the 11th inning. In the top of the 11th, Jed Lowrie drove a ball deep into center field for a home run to put the Sox up 6-5. With Papelbon already having gone 2 innings, Terry Francona sent Manny Delcarmen in to nail down the save. While Manny has been shaky at times, last night he got the job done.

Jacoby EllsburyThe Sox survived a scare when Jacoby Ellsbury crashed into the chain link fence in center field while making a catch a step away from the wall. Ellsbury suffered cuts around his eye and was shaken up, but he knew the Sox' injury situation with JD Drew dealing with a herniated disc. So, even shaken up, Ellsbury stayed in the game.

The Red Sox injury situation is still a concern. They gained a game on the Rays, who lost last night, and stand 4 1/2 back in the division, and hold a 1 game lead in the Wild Card standings over the Twins, while the Yankees sit 5 games behind the Sox. That 5 game lead feels good, but the Red Sox and Yankees will square off for 3 games in Yankee Stadium starting tomorrow night. A sweep by the Yankees would throw them right back into the race. The Sox have pushed off Josh Beckett's next start, forcing him to miss this series, but Tim Wakefield has declared himself ready to return to the rotation, just in time to prevent the Sox from having to make a move. The only thing that worries me about that, is that Wakefield has not generally fared too well in his first game back.

So, what do the Sox need to do to make the playoffs? In my analysis, since the start of the Wild Card format in 1995, no AL team that has won at least 94 games has ever missed the playoffs. The Red Sox record is currently 75-55. They would need to win 19 out of their final 32 games to get to 94 wins. So, can the Sox go 19-13 to wrap up the season? I think that looks pretty doable.

They also have 6 games remaining against the Rays. That presents a nice opportunity to pull the Rays back a bit. So, they need to get it all started tomorrow night by jumping all over Mike Mussina and starting the series off with a win.

Tune in tomorrow when we'll take a look at how my analysis of the 2008 Yankees has turned out!

(Photos Courtesy of Yahoo Sports)


Suldog said...

Jed is magnificent. Maybe we should think about adding Jethro, Granny, and Ellie Mae to the team, too!

Rooster said...

LOL - now you're thinking!

Peter N said...

And a cement pond in centerfield? Granny's moonshine, too? Hey Sul.
Great post, Rooster, and I think the Sox might get to that 94 win plateau...with Josh! Without him it's all up for grabs, with the Twins matching us win for win.

Rooster said...

Peter, while it does not feel like the Sox have a real shot at first place, don't forget they play the Rays 6 times still. A 3 game sweep of the Rays at Fenway has already been done this season. If they repeat that, the 4 1/2 game lead quickly shrinks to 1 1/2.

So, while I am not sure at all what to expect, they have a very real shot at first place. They just need a well timed surge in September.

If Josh is out for a while, but Colon can come back, they are not too worse off than where they are now, for the short term. Colon (if he's sharp), Dice-K, Lester, Wake, and Byrd is a decent rotation. Without an effective Colon, perhaps Masterson?

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