Starting Pitchers Fare Well
Facing off against Felix Doubront was Bud Norris. Although Norris did not do great, he managed to rack up seven strikeouts in six and a third innings. Doubront, had his first quality start of the year hurling six and two thirds innings allowing just two runs while fanning seven. Other than hitting a couple rough patches, Doubront was dominant throughout the day.
Doubront ran into some trouble early in the day in the top of the first inning. After giving up a single and allowing a walk, Nelson Cruz singled on a grounder to left, allowing Nick Markakis to score. Oddly enough, Doubront struck out three batters that inning.
Doubront retired thirteen straight batters which led him to the top of the sixth inning where the trouble returned. First, outfielder Nick Markakis singled the center to lead off the inning. Delmon Young followed this up by grounding into a double play so then there were two outs in the inning. With two outs, Adam Jones doubled, and proceeded to steal third base during the next at-bat while Chris Davis was batting. Doubront beaned Chris Davis with a 90mph fastball when the count was 2-0 putting runners on the corners. Up came Nelson Cruz who hit a ball to Brock Holt at the hot corner, Holt fielded the ball in time so Cruz was out. Not so fast, Buck Showalter challenged the ruling and he ended up being correct which tied the game up at two a piece. In the next at-bat, Matt Wieters hit a ball hard at Brock Holt, causing him to boot it, loading the bases.
Finally, Doubront escaped the jam when JJ Hardy flew one to center so Bradley could make the catch. After getting two quick outs in the second inning, Doubront walked a batter. At this point he had thrown 107 pitches causing manager John Farrell to take him out for the day.
In came Junichi Tazawa to pitch for Boston. On just 11 pitches, Tazawa retired four batters, one of which he struck out. Following up Tazawa obviously was Koji Uehara who was near perfect today. With the exception of walking a batter, Uehara who struck three batters in the ninth inning, was perfect.
Red Sox Offense Still Not Great, Gets The Job Done For Today
Although the Red Sox did win the game, their offense could have done better. They did score four runs, but reached base just eight times, which is a little less than what most winning teams amass over the course of a nine-inning game.
To start off the game, Grady Sizemore was fanned. Dustin Pedroia then battled Norris in an eight pitch at-bat, getting the better of Norris drawing a walk. Up came David Ortiz, who lined one to opposite field, sending Pedroia to third. Now Mike Napoli was at the plate, he hit one to the third baseman Jonathan Schoop who misplayed it, allowing Pedroia to score. After Mike Carp grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, the inning was over. After Bud Norris retired seven straight batters, the Red Sox were back in action, David Ortiz led off the bottom of the fourth inning taking Bud Norris deep on a full count. The pitch was a 95mph fastball. Mike Napoli then singled, but Mike Carp grounded into another double play. After a David Ross popout, the inning was over and the Red Sox led the Orioles 2-1. Bud Norris came back into the game to start off the seventh inning, which was not a good idea for Buck Showalter. Norris led off the inning by walking Mike Carp then by striking out David Ross. Up came Brock Holt, who was recently called up to take the place of a struggling Ryan Roberts. On the first pitch of the at-bat, Holt came up swinging. Holt crushed one to center field for a triple, scoring Mike Carp. After this, a new pitcher came into the game. With Holt on third, Jonathan Herrera bunted one down the first base line to Chris Davis. Athlete that he is, David misplayed the bunt allowing Herrera to reach first and Holt to score. At this point, the Sox led 4-2. Nothing else major happened for Boston's offense, but nothing needed to happen. They held a safe two run lead late in the game which proved to be good enough to earn the victory. Quick Facts
In just two games this season, Brock Holt has already proven his worth over Ryan Roberts. Roberts was 2-19 with the Sox in his 11 days on the team, while Holt is 3-7 in just two days.
After starting off the season strong, Grady Sizemore has just one hit in his past five games. Today, his average dropped to .245 on the season.
David Ross got confrontational today with Matt Wieters. This is because when Ross attempted to lay down a bunt three times, each time he was met with a fastball coming for his head. Benches cleared but nothing major happened, no punches were thrown, so no one will be suspended or fined for their actions.
Shane Victorino played in his first rehab game today for the Pawtucket Red Sox. He was supposed to start rehabbing Tuesday with the AA Portland Sea Dogs, but bad weather in the Northeast forced three straight Sea Dogs games to be cancelled. Victorino went 0-3 today. Also, Victorino has lost about ten pounds from the flu he caught while he was on the Disabled List.
Overall, it was a solid win for Boston today. Credit for today's win definitely goes to the pitches, and some timely hitting from batters. The most important hit of the game hands down was when Brock Holt hit a triple to put the Red Sox up 3-2. In addition, being on third base, Holt set up the opportunity for the sacrifice bunt by Jonathan Herrera. Single-handedly, Holt's triple gave the Red Sox two runs. For pitching, it was a good sign to see Felix Doubront have the outing that he did today. He gave Boston his first quality start of the season, so hopefully there are many to follow. As of right now, Boston stands at just 8-10 through their first 18 games which is only two and a half games out of first place. With so much time left in the season, Boston has plenty of time to catch up to the Yankees and secure first place, but they just need to do so one game at a time. They can start to inch closer to first place with a win over the Orioles tomorrow, a game that starts at 7:05 EST and airs on ESPN. Follow me on Twitter @CLNS_Tom