Red Sox Report: Starting Pitching Fuels Series Win Over Dodgers
Going into the weekend series with the Dodgers the Red Sox drew a lucky straw when they did not have to face two of the top pitchers in the National League in Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke. Luck of the calendar seemed to help the Red Sox but still you need to win the games you play. On Friday the Sox offense was shut down by Ricky Nolasco losing 2-0. The only offense came from a home run from former Red Sox prospect Hanley Ramirez, who was traded for Josh Beckett, and who are now teammates on the Dodgers. John Lackey turned in another great outing allowing only two runs and threw a complete game, but was yet again a victim of poor run support, which has been happening regularly for Lackey this season.
Saturday was Jon Lester’s day on the mound as he turned in one of his best performances of the year. Lester threw 7 and 1/3 of one run ball while striking out six and allowing only three hits. Koji Uehara got his 13th save of the season and has continued his roll of scoreless appearances. All the offense the Sox needed came in the first inning where a well rested Mike Napoli had an RBI single and Jonny Gomes a three run home run. Napoli who has been battling a foot problem received a cortisone shot last week and has been on the bench due to National League rules with no DH. David Ortiz got the day off Saturday and Sunday after battling an injury of his own, a back problem which is considered minor and will be back to his normal DH spot at Fenway tomorrow.
Sunday was Jake Peavy’s coming out party with the Red Sox as he had his best start since being acquired by the Red Sox before the trade deadline. Peavy, who has pitched well since being acquired gave up one run, a home run by former Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Peavy pitched a complete game of his own and also only allowed three hits. The offense came out to play as home runs were hit by Victorino, Saltalamacchia, and Napoli in contributing to an 8-1 win. Victorino, who has been hitting exclusively right handed of late because of a hamstring injury has been coming on of late and been making the top of the order a force to be reckoned with. Sure Victorino is overpaid but, he is a fit in this market and has played great defense in right field all year long.
This weekend the Red Sox bullpen only had to get five outs and with days off last Thursday and today the bullpen will be well rested for an upcoming series with Baltimore who are five and a half games behind the Sox for the division. The Orioles have been hanging around all season with the Rays and Red Sox alternating first and second for what feels like the last three weeks. The Orioles are certainly a team no one can sleep on as they now have starting pitching, having acquired Bud Norris and Scott Feldman prior to the trading deadline. This year’s Red Sox are comparable to last year’s Orioles having a lot of magical wins and winning the tight games after having a bad year prior.
The trade between the Dodgers and the Red Sox happened one year ago yesterday and has effected both franchises in a good way so far. The Dodgers took on Crawford and Beckett because they really wanted Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez hit two home runs this weekend and didn’t say anything bad about the Red Sox, while Carl Crawford is still yapping about the his time with the Red Sox. Crawford was just a bad fit from the start with the Sox and will soon be a $20 million platoon player when Matt Kemp returns from the disabled list. Beckett is out for the rest of the season due to numbness in his fingers which could also effect the remainder of his career. The Red Sox and Dodgers are both in first place and this weekend was another good series of baseball.