Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Gutsy Win

For the second night in a row, the Sox found themselves in a 5-0 hole against the Yankees. For the second night in a row, the Sox came back to take a two-run lead into the ninth. But unlike Tuesday night, Jonathan Papelbon did just enough to get the save and snag a crucial 7-6 win for the Sox.

No one will ever mistake Paps for a Yankee killer. For whatever reason, New York seems to be able to get to him. But Paps somehow cobbled together the three outs for his 10th save, the last out a strikeout of Randy Winn with runners on second and third.

It took a little bit of luck for Paps to even have that opportunity. First, Joba Chamberlain imploded as the Sox rallied back to tie the game at five. I always said Joba wasn't a starter...who knew he wasn't a reliever either? Then Marcus Thames went from hero to zero in 24 hours, dropping a Scutaro fly ball to put runners on first and second in the ninth. Which was followed one out later by Mo Rivera looking human and giving up a two-run double to Jeremy Hermida that put Boston up 7-5. Not for nothing, but Mo has looked off in his last two outings. Could Father Time actually be catching up to Mariano?*

Not that everything was smiles and sunshine for Boston. First and foremost, Beckett had a rough outing...again. But at least we have an idea it might be his back...again. Remember when the big concern was his developing a blister on his hand? Don't you miss those problems? Backs are tricky as hell...who knows what it could be or how long it could last. Beckett's whole night whipsawed between looking good and then surrendering crucial hits.

Then there was Marco Scutaro committing two errors. One of the big reasons for him coming to Boston was because of his glove. Well, that glove has rung up six errors so far and we aren't through May yet. I'm not saying he is destined for a Renteria type of year, but we aren't getting the glove we thought we were. At least not yet.

And then we have David Ortiz admiring a home run...that turned into a single...that turned into him getting thrown out at second. Look, I am thrilled, truly, that Papi has turned it around. In May he is hitting .376 with a 1.162 OPS. His overall OPS for the year has risen to .821. He's back in a groove. But that doesn't mean he should get back into admiring every long ball he hits, either. That was a hot dog move that backfired.

But that all pales to the fact that Boston won in the Bronx and climbed back up to .500 overall. But it doesn't get any easier; the Sox get Minnesota at home for two before seeing the Phillies and the Rays on the road. All in all, this is one of Boston's toughest stretches of the season. But they get two nice matchups with Clay Buchholz facing Scott Baker tonight and then Lester drawing Liriano tomorrow. Those are pretty even and that is about all Boston can hope for right now when it comes to their pitching.

* No. No he isn't. I'm pretty sure Rivera is fueled by some advanced nuclear reactor or possibly the harnessed energy of a supernova. He'll probably register 30+ saves when he's in his mid-50s.

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