Red Sox/Rangers series recap
The Red Sox returned to their early season pitching futility in a two game series against the Rangers on Tuesday and Wednesday. Jon Lester was lit up early and Mark Melancon was lit up late in an 18-3 loss of game 1. Josh Beckett held his own but it was not enough to overcome a great pitching performance by Derek Holland on Wednesday night and the Sox once again fell to the Rangers 6-3.
As far as the starting pitching goes, Jon Lester’s performance was inexplicable. It was just one of those things. He had some trouble getting a feel for the ball after the long home run he gave up to Mike Napoli, who absolutely murders Red Sox pitching. He actually looked good before that but the home run seemed to throw him off and he couldn’t get into a rhythm after that. He threw 50 pitches in the 2nd inning and couldn’t record an out in the 3rd before getting yanked. I’m guessing this was an aberration for Lester and he’ll throw the ball better next time out. Josh Beckett was much better on Wednesday night. He is gaining velocity, he went from 91-92 in his first two outings to 93-94 last night, and continues to locate his secondary pitches well. He gave the Sox a quality start in 7 strong innings and the only blemish was a run scored on a ground ball up the middle and a 2-run homer by, yup, Mike Napoli. Beckett seems to have settled in after that first outing.
The bullpen is still as mess at times. Mark Melancon was supposed to be a primary set-up guy for this team but he’s now down in Pawtucket after giving up 3 home runs on Tuesday night. Michael Bowden has been designated for assignment. Franklin Morales, who looked great before last night, gave up 3 runs to the Rangers in the 8th inning. The good news is that Aceves is settling in and Matt Albers and Scott Atchison are pitching better for the Sox. Vicente Padilla is holding his own in a set-up spot as well. Perhaps we’ll see if Junichi Tazawa, called up for Melancon and coming off of Tommy John surgery, can contribute. We may look back at the Andrew Bailey injury and see it as the thing that undid the Bobby V. era before it even started.
The lineup is doing alright but faced some tough pitching in the two games. It’s a pretty good staff when you have two guys, Scott Feldman and Alexei Ogando, who have been all-stars as starers as your primary set-up guys. Papi continues to hit with 1 in each of the 2 games against Texas. Dustin Pedroia hit his 3rd jack of the young season and Adrian Gonzalez added his 2nd in Game 1. Kevin Youkilis finally got on the board with a 2-run shot on Wednesday night. Ryan Sweeney continues to hit well and added an RBI single in the bottom of the 9th last night against Joe Nathan. Kelly Shoppach continues to hit with another double last night. Mike Aviles went 2-for-6 with two walks in the series and continues to hold his own at the lead-off spot. The Sox defense is actually the best in the league so they’re not getting killed in that department either.
So the Sox are 4-8 after 12 games. Too bad they didn’t start that good last year, they’d have been in the playoffs if they had. Now they have a crucial series against the Yankees to finish the home stand. The funny thing is, as a Sox fan, the Yankees don’t scare me as much as the the other teams we have played so far. We’ve played this team well over the past couple seasons, something you couldn’t say about the Rays or Rangers. Friday should be exciting, regardless of the record. I’m looking forward to watching the ceremony and I hope there are a lot of older players that were kind of forgotten about over the years (Luis Rivera, Jeff Frye, Jody Reed, Bob Zupcic, the list goes on and on.) Anyway until then keep your heads up and go B’s.