Saturday, April 24, 2010

Turning A Corner?

Granted, Boston's three wins in their last four games have been against Texas and Baltimore. And two of them were of the "come-from-behind" variety. But beating Texas or Baltimore is the same as beating Minnesota or New York when it comes to wins and losses.

So last night's 4-3 win over the Orioles wasn't the prettiest game played in Fenway, or the easiest. But it was a win. And that is something that had been in short supply for the Sox at home for most of the early 2010 season.

Once again the Sox got respectable pitching from their starter. And while Lester wouldn't brag about his performance (which saw him surrender four walks) he also struck out seven and allowed just four hits. He left the game holding a 3-0 lead. Unfortunately, the bullpen gave up three runs and left Lester with the ND.

But this was the second night in a row the Sox got a solid outing from their starter. Even in a 3-0 loss to the Rangers, Clay Buchholz looked great. If not for the previous two marathon wins that exhausted the bullpen, Buchholz probably wouldn't have been out long enough to surrender those three runs. So there's something to hope for there as well.

Even David Ortiz is showing signs of life. He hit his first homer of the year to put Boston up 1-0 in the second. I'm not holding my breath that this changes everything. But he also showed the patience to draw a walk in the eighth that led to Beltre's game-winning walk with the bases loaded. Maybe he is finally seeing the ball a little better. It will be something to watch in the days ahead.

And this win came despite the fact that the meat of the order (Pedroia, Youk, Martinez) went a collective 0-10 with two walks (both from V-Mart). Pedroia is actually in a mini-slump, hitting just .103 with a .405 OPS in his last seven games. He'll turn it around soon enough, and it doesn't hurt that the Sox have been winning despite it.

Tonight it'll be Lackey facing Brian Matusz. Hopefully this time Lackey won't pitch the way he used to over the years in Fenway. I think tonight we'll see more of the pitcher who beat Minnesota and not the one who got shellacked by Tampa Bay.

And the word has come down that Daisuke will get a start next weekend in Baltimore after throwing a simulated game in Toronto on Monday. This would put Wakes in the bullpen, which I don't like but I understand. Buchholz is simply pitching better and you have to see what Daisuke can give you at this point. And maybe by going to the pen now, Wakefield's back won't act up in the latter half of the season.

On a more literary note, I am almost finished with Red Sox by the Numbers and I should have a review up in a few days. I will say this right now; it's a great book for reading on a plane ride or to learn lots of random facts about the Sox. I am enjoying it quite a bit. But I'll have the proper review soon.

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