What looked like a runaway win for the Sox Sunday afternoon turned into a bit of a nail-biter thanks to Ramon Ramirez and his remarkable ability to surrender runs. But by the end, the Sox got away with an 8-6 win and got back to .500 (3-3).
There was another escape as well. The big story coming out of this game could have been Jacoby Ellsbury getting injured in a collision with Adrian Beltre. Luckily for Ellsbury and the Sox, that wasn't the case.
"He kneed me right in the ribs," Ellsbury said. "I was worried about, a broken rib. I'm sure there is quite a bit of swelling in there cause it is a little tough to breath. It didn't feel too good initially.So thank the powers that be for that one, although even without a break he may be out for a game or two.
"They got good enough X-rays. They'll just probably blow them up on a bigger monitor (Monday) and make sure there is nothing like a minor break. There was nothing obvious on it."
Clay Buchholz picked up the win with a workman-like performance; three runs (two earned) and seven hits over five innings. It wasn't great but it got the job done, especially since Gil Meche got hammered early and often. The KC starter lasted just 3.1 innings and gave up seven runs on eight hits, including another homer from Dustin Pedroia.
Lost in all the excitement was a solid two inning performance from Manny Delcarmen. He went two innings and allowed just one walk. He has yet to allow a run this year and has a WHIP of 0.67 so far. With Ramirez's struggles, he may get even more work as a bridge to Bard and Papelbon.
Speaking of Ramirez...he has to be either benched or examined for a hidden injury, because he is pitching like crap right now. He has given up five runs in three appearances, has a WHIP of 4.50 and a 33.75 ERA. He was completely ineffective today, unable to record even a single out in the eighth while allowing the Royals to cut the lead to 8-6.
But Bard and Papelbon were both on their game. They combined for two scoreless innings of work, with Bard getting his second hold of 2010 and Papelbon picking up his second save in two games. This is the kind of pitching Sox fans expected to see from these two from game one. As long as they are throwing like this, the Sox will win a lot of games.
And the strong bats don't hurt either. Beltre is continuing to make Theo look brilliant. He went 3-5 with three RBI today, boosting his average to .400 and his OPS to .831 so far this season. And Pedroia is being...Pedroia. 4-5 with a run scored and a RBI. Pedroia's three homers are fourth best in the AL and he is sporting a gaudy 1.193 OPS. I know this won't hold over 162 games, but it's great to see someone that Boston fans love (and the fans of the other 29 teams hate) taking off like this early in the season.
If there was one down note, it was David Ortiz day at the plate. He was 0-4 with four strikeouts. And that's the problem. Batters have 0-fers all the time. It's to be expected. I mean, this is a job where having a 30% success rate at the plate guarantees you lifetime employment. If I was that efficient at my job, they'd can my ass in about two minutes.
But usually those batters make outs with contact. They'll pop it up or ground to short or something. But to miss the ball for four outs is ... not good. I don't think it's time to discuss Ortiz being benched; there is still a lot of baseball. But expect more questions about Ortiz and his future in Boston as long as his slump continues.
But for now, the Sox escape KC with a series win and head north to Minnesota to help the Twins open their new baseball stadium. Should be quite an event. Right before Lester pitches the Sox to another win.