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Monday, 07 April 2014 22:02

Boston Red Sox - Texas Rangers: Sox Finally Win At Fenway

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John Lackey Bobble-HeadSOX BREAK THE STREAK IN 1ST HOME WIN

Monday night against the Texas Rangers at Fenway and the Sox were staring four losses in a row, something that did not occur in 2013, right in the eyes.  The team that had the best home record in baseball last year had yet to win at Fenway Park in 2014.

They broke both streaks with a 5-1 win, but didn't close out the game until they scored 3 runs in the 8th.

WILL THE REAL RED SOX PLEASE SHOW UP

Alright, enough is enough.  Who are the bobbleheads (Monday David Ortiz bobblehead day - John Lackey bobblehead above) that have taken the place of the Boston Red Sox?  So far the 2014 version of the 2013 World Series Champions has not been very good...either at bat or in the field. Despite the win they continued to leave runners all over the place and made sloppy plays giving extra opportunities to their opponents. If not for Lackey and Jackie Bradley Jr., they could easily have lost again. The Sox grounded into 3 DPs in the 8 innings they had at bats!

CAN THE PITCHING GET THE TEAM BACK ON-TRACK

So far the pitching has been pretty good. Not great, but good enough to be better than a 2-4 (now 3-4) record and tied with Toronto for 3rd place in the AL East. With the inability to score runs the pitchers are pitching in pressure situations too often. The feeling that every run you give up could be crucial makes each pitch stressful. Monday's 5-1 win was no different...the score was 2-1 before the Sox scored 3 in the 8th.

MONDAY NIGHT BASEBALL

The spotlight was on Monday's starter, John Lackey (2-0), to be the stopper. In his first start at Baltimore he was outstanding, giving up a two run homer to Nelson Cruz...and not much else, in a 6-2 win.  Lackey was spectular Monday, going 7 pressure filled innings and leaving with a 2-1 lead.

LACKEY LINE: 7 Innings, 1 (Unearned) Run, 5 Hits, 5 Ks, 1 BB, 95 Pitches (1.38 ERA)

Meanwhile, the Rangers started Tanner Scheppers, who gave up 7 runs in his earlier start against the Phillies. It sure seemed like a miss-match and the perfect opportunity for the bats to come to life. Even though the Sox hit Scheppers hard, they could only convert 9 hits and 11 baserunners into 2 runs in the 5 innings he was on the mound.

Ranger Manager Ron Washington used his challenge in the 1st inning when SS Elvis Andrus dropped a throw to 2nd that would have forced out Daniel Nava, who had been hit by a pitch to open the inning.

He lost the challenge, giving the Sox runners on 1st & 2nd with one out, but Mike Napoli grounded into a double play to end the inning.

SOX SCORE FIRST

In the 2nd the Sox once again had multiple base runners when, with one out, Xander Bogaerts singled and A.J. Perzynski had a hit and run single moving him to 3rd.  The Sox have been horrendous with men in scoring position, and it looked like the troubles were going to continue when Jonathan Herrera fouled out to third.

Up stepped Jackie Bradley Jr...2 out and still trying to prove he can hit major league pitching. This time he came thru with a solid single, driving in Bogaerts with the first run of the game and moving Pierzynski to 3rd.  

When Daniel Nava walked to load the bases the Sox were looking to put a crooked number up on the board as Dustin Pedroia stepped into the batters box. Could it happen? Is this the time the bats come alive? Nope...it wasn't to be, as Pedroia grounded out to end the threat.

SOX "LET" THE RANGERS COME BACK IN THE 4TH

Sloppy fielding cost the Sox in the 4th.  With one out, Adrian Beltre, celebrating his 35th birthday, singled up the middle. Herrera than fielded a ball hit down the 3rd base line by Alex Rios and threw it well over the head of Pedroia. He was saved an error when Bradley Jr.backed up the play, keeping the runners at 1st & 2nd.  Pierzynski ended that with a passed ball, as the runners moved up. The Rangers tied the game 1-1 with a sac fly by Mitch Moreland.

JACKIE BRADLEY JR. COMES THRU AGAIN

The 1-1 tie didn't last long as Bradley Jr. singled, driving in Pierzynski (single) and moving Herrera (single) to third.  Once again the threat of a big inning went down the drain when, with runners on 1st & 3rd with one out, Nava and Pedroia both fouled out. 2-1 Sox after 4.

SOX BREAK IT OPEN

Bradley came through again in the 8th when he ended up with a single while attemptng a sacrafice bunt. On the play an overthrow to 1st allowded Pierzynski (single) to score from second and Herrera (walk) to go to third. Herrera scored and Bradley went to 3rd when Nava singled to right. Bradley scored the 3rd run of the inning when Pedroia forced Nava at second.  Final Score: 5-1 Sox

RELIEF FROM THE BULLPEN

Chris Capuano came in to relieve Lackey in the 8th and gave up a lead off single by Shin-Soo Choo but escaped from trouble when, with one out, he got Prince Fielder to ground into a 4-6-3 DP.

NOTES & THOUGHTS

JBJ is all that he was expected to be in the field. He gets a tremendous jump on the ball and makes difficult plays look easy. He looks as comfortable in right field as his natural position of center field. With his 3 hits he is now hitting a solid .375. He also had 2 RBI Grady Sizemore just missed a long drive by Shin-Soo Choo as the ball ticked off his glove.  He ended up crashing into the center field wall as Choo stood on 3rd with a triple.  John Lester (0-2) has been very good, but unable to buy a win. Hopefully he doesn't have the same experience Lackey had last year when the team bats were put on ice every time he pitched Nava got his 2nd error of the season in left as he bobbled a single, allowing the runner to reach 2nd. It looked like Sizemore had an easier play on the ball as Nava cut him off to get to the ball. Pierzynski had a 3 hit night, bringing his BA up to .250 Napoli also had 3 hits and is now hitting .333 Pedroia went hitless for the first time this year Koji Uehara came in in a non-save situation, giving up 2 hits and 0 runs in the 9th Before the game the Sox announced the signing of the self professed "tatman", Ryan Roberts, who gives them extra infield insurance with the absence of Will Middlebrooks..

"We felt like we needed to add another right-handed bat who was third-base capable," manager John Farrell said Monday. "We're in a little bit of a platoon situation at third base in the short run."

The Rangers will start left-hander Martin Perez on Tuesday, so Roberts will be in the starting lineup according to Farrell.

Don't forget the odd starting times for the next two games: 6:10 Tuesday and 4:05 Wednesday

You can follow me on Twitter @SnowdonBob