Saturday, May 3, 2008

Holy Hit Parade, Batman!

Were you waiting for the Sox to have a big offensive night? If so, your prayers have been answered! Last night looked like it had all the makings of a pitchers' duel with a rematch of Josh Beckett going up against the Rays' James Shields. In their match-up last Sunday, Tampa Bay scraped out a 3-0 victory, with Shields pitching a complete game shutout allowing only 2 hits, while Beckett allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits in 7 innings, taking the loss.

But last night was all about offense as the Red Sox had at least one hit all but one inning. Every Red Sox starter had at least one hit in the game, seven starters scored at least one run, and seven starters drove in at least one run.

The punishment started right from the start as the first four Red Sox batters in the game all had hits, scoring 3 runs in the inning. Welcome to Boston, Rays! Big Papi is officially out of his slump. Last night he went 3 for 5, scoring two runs and driving in two runs off of 2 doubles and a single. What you need to know is that Papi's 2 doubles were both well executed opposite field hits to left. That is exactly what he needs to do. If the defense is going to shift to the right, you hit to the left.

JD Drew was back in the lineup and went 2 for 4, scoring 2 runs and driving in 2 more. Smart move to sit sit out a couple of nights to be able to get back and contribute quicker. Manny Ramirez ended a short drought of not driving in any runs by driving in two with a single in the first inning. He is still stuck on 496 home runs, but he is driving in runs again - one step at a time. Jacoby Ellsbury was also menacing at the plate recording a single, double and a walk in 4 at-bats, scoring 2 runs.

But last night had defense too. Mike Lowell was stellar, making a terrific play on an attempted bunt single by Akinori Iwamura in the 3rd inning, and robbing Jason Bartlett of a sure double in the 5th inning leaping up to grab a hard hit line drive. Manny Ramirez (again) showed off his throwing arm in the 4th inning. With bases loaded and only one out, Nathan Haynes hit a line drive to Manny in mid-left field for out number two. Carlos Pena wanted to score badly, so he tagged up and took off for home. Manny fired a perfect strike to Jason Varitek for out number 3, inning over.

Josh Beckett was good, but not great. He was not lights-out dominating, but he did go deep into the game allowing 4 runs on 7 hits in 8 innings. Three of the four runs were scored off of two home runs. I am not worried about that yet, but it is something to keep an eye on. Two years ago Beckett had a fine year for the Sox, but it was marred by too many home runs. The two last night give Beckett 4 for the season. Hopefully just a blip on the map.

Now, one more win tomorrow would allow the Sox to extract sweep revenge on the Rays. The game will feature two talented, young lefties as John Lester faces off against Scott Kazmir. This will be Kazmir's first start of 2008. He has been nursing an inflamed elbow all season, so we will see if he is truly ready. Kazmir has historically been tough against the Sox, but I am not so sure his first outing of the year will be as successful as he hopes. My guess is that he'll look fantastic for 3 or 4 innings and then be done. By then, the Sox will either have solidified a lead, or kept close enough to bash the bullpen.

We are looking sweep here folks.


Peter N said...

Folks, yes, WE IS LOOKING SWEEP HERE! Morning Rooster, and yep, we have to hope Jon can follow the best start of his career with another gem while the bats continue to smoke. Have a great Sunday. One, if not both of my eyes will be on the Celts at 1pm, though.

Rooster said...

Go Celtics! I can't believe the Hawks took them to seven games. They better win today or a lot of fans are going to be shaking their heads - already hearing talk about how Garnett folds in the playoffs. Don't need that kind of talk in this town.

Thanks for stopping by Peter!

Anonymous said...

After watching Beckett yesterday, I agree with your assessment Rooster. Here's to that "sweep revenge" being executed today!

Anonymous said...

2nd inning/Sunday - Sox 1-0, and Batman just spotted lol.

Anonymous said...

Revenge in progress... Sox 3-0 at the bottom of 3rd.

Rooster said...

So far so good! Celtics absolutely clobbered the Hawks (why can't they do that in Atlanta?) and the Sox are up 4-1 so far.