After Thursday’s victory over the LA Angels, the Red Sox improved their longest winning streak to 4 games and swept the Angels. They started hitting well, fielding well and pitching well. When you execute all three, you win games and that’s what they did this week. Will it last? That is yet to be seen, but it is a step in the right direction.
Tuesday, Jon Lester followed up his solid performance in Toronto by taking a 1-1 tie game into the eighth. He gave up back to back singles to start the inning and worked out of a base-loaded jam. He gave up 1 run, 5 hits, 2 walks on eight innings of work. Lester is finally settling in, which is a relief. Terry Francona certainly had confidence in him, leaving him out there with a 120 pitch count. Jeremy Hermida helped Lester seal the win with a bases clearing double to take a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth. Pinch hitter, Mike Lowell hit a double off the wall to plate Hermida and the sox won 5-1. Doubles were the theme of the night. Out of 11 Red Sox hits, 6 were doubles. They even managed to play errorless ball, something they have had a hard time doing thus far.
Being at the game I was disgusted with the treatment by fans towards David Ortiz. He struck out twice and grounded into two double plays which caused Fenway fans to “boo” him. As a true fan, that upsets me. Fans are supposed to support their team and players. I take great issue with fans that stand up and cheer for someone like Ortiz one minute and when he doesn’t perform 100%, they turn on him with “boos” and yell rude comments. I know many people have strong opinions regarding Ortiz and his career being over. If you truly believe his career is over then don’t let me catch you cheering for him when he does well. Real fans support their players through the good AND bad. Ortiz is frustrated, the management is frustrated and clearly so are fans but there is absolutely no reason to disrespect the team you love by “booing” them. Do you really think that helps the situation? I am tired of the “what have you done for me lately” attitude of so many fans. We all know what that man has done for the city of Boston and he doesn’t deserve the treatment he is receiving. Francona is handling the situation the best he can. The problems of the Red Sox do not sit entirely on David Ortiz’ shoulders but he continues to take all the heat. Francona is simply putting together the best lineup he can on a day to day basis to win games. I wonder if DH Nick Johnson is taking as much heat as Ortiz. Johnson is batting .167 with 8 RBIs on the season.
It was nice to see Dustin Pedroia step forward and defend Ortiz. “David’s fine,’’ Pedroia said. “He’s one of our teammates. It could have been me that hit into a double play. It happens to everybody, man. He’s had 60 at-bats. A couple years ago I had 60 at-bats, I was hitting .170, everyone was ready to kill me too. What happened? Laser show. Relax. I’m tired of looking at the NESN poll: ‘Why is David struggling?’ David’s fine. We believe in him. He came out of it last year, he’s going to come out of it this year. Put that in your poll. I’m going to go online and vote. Papi’s fine. Thanks for playing.’’
On Wednesday, Ortiz silenced his critiques for at least another day. He singled up the middle in the second, then took Joel Pineiro deep in the fourth. He entered the game with a .391 lifetime average against Pineiro. Keep plugging away Papi, I am not giving up on you. And when your time has come, I will be the first one to send you off with the dignity you earned in this town.
John Lackey faced his former team and pitched two-hit ball for seven innings. He got out of a messy second inning after giving up a single, walk, and hit batter to load the bases with two outs. By the end of the inning he was at 41 pitches. He ended the night with a 102 pitch count. Lackey got 13 of his 21 outs on ground balls to win the game 3-1. Another errorless game. I guess that “run prevention” is starting to work.
Thursday’s game, the Sox were looking for the sweep. Daisuke Matsuzaka made his second appearance of the season. There is no escaping the one “dreaded inning” he always seems to have. Consistent he is not. Actually, he is consistently good at having one bad inning. At least he got his bad inning out of the way early and gave the offense plenty of time to comeback. He pitched so badly that 13 pitches into the game, not one batter had swung the bat. He gave up 4 runs in the first, throwing 39 pitches. Dice K finally settled down and pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing 5 runs on 5 hits.
Victor Martinez hit his first home run since April 6th in the 3rd inning making it 4-2. He was 2-4 with 4 RBIs. The bats came alive in the 5th again with Martinez doubling to right, driving in two. Later that inning the hot bat of Hermida drove in two more runs and Darnell McDonald doubled to center driving in a run making it 7-4. They scored 5 runs on 5 hits in the fifth inning. In the sixth, they scored 4 runs on 2 hits. The Sox went on to win 11-6, giving Dice K his first win of the season, making it four straight wins.
Over the four game series the Sox scored 36 runs on 53 hits, 25 of them for extra bases. After Thursday’s game they were finally above .500 at 15-14. Their terrible home record improved to 9-8. The team’s morale is up, their confidence is getting better and the fans are back to supporting their team again.
About the Author
Written by "Baseball Brenda" Sepanek
I was born a sports fan. Playing soccer, basketball and softball in high school, then moving on to play Div. II softball at Keene State on partial scholarship. In 2003, our team was inducted into the Keene State Hall of Fame. GO OWLS! I am a die hard Red Sox, Patriots and UNC Tar Heel hoop fan. Most of my friends call me Baseball Brenda because when it comes to ranking my priorities in life, the Red Sox always are first on the list. I average about 40 games a year and I have attended every home playoff game since moving back to MA in 2005. I am super competitive and excel at anything you can win at :) Horseshoes, ping pong, darts, pool, cornhole, and bowling. Always love a good challenge. I play a lot of golf in the summer and a lot of fantasy sports. I am always looking to meet local Sox fans so look me up on Facebook.