Seven games in seven days and as is becoming the trend this season the Red Sox finished right above .500 last week, going 4-3 winning a three game series with the Toronto Blue Jays and then splitting a 4 game set with the Mariners on the west coast. I’m starting to think that someone who had zero interest in sports and never watched a baseball game in their life could write a weekly report on the Red Sox before a single game had even been played and it would probably be pretty accurate. If the Sox go 4-3 or 3-4 this week I may just test that theory out. For what has to be considered a disappointing week for Red Sox Nation there were some good moments, there were some bad moments, and a whole lot of scoreless innings in between.
Monday, June 25: 9-6 loss vs. Toronto Blue Jays (Sox washed away by the rain, J.P. Arencibia and Jose Bautista)
Tuesday, June 26: 5-1 win vs. Blue Jays (Pedroia gets arguably the biggest hit of the week to ground Jays)
Wednesday, June 27: 10-4 win vs. Blue Jays (6 run first inning helps Sox soar past Jays)
Thursday, June 28: 1-0 loss at Seattle Mariners (King Felix strikes out 13 in 5-hit CG SO)
Friday, June 29: 5-0 win at Mariners (81 pitch 2-hitter fom Aaron Cook, 4 HR’s do M’s in)
Saturday, June 30: 3-2 loss at Mariners (Figgin’s walk-off sac-fly in 11th inning)
Sunday, July 1: 2-1 win at Mariners (David Ortiz sac-fly in 10th splits series)
Even with the less than incredible week the Sox moved up third place in the AL East, just a half game behind Baltimore for second. The Sox stand at 5 games above .500 headed into tonight’s game at 42-37 on the year. The New York Yankees still are the division leader 6.5 games ahead of the Sox at 48-30, so this weekend’s 4 game series at Fenway Park should be some meaningful games heading into the All-Star break.
This wasn’t the best week for the bats even though they did do enough to go above .500 for the week. The bats were alive at Fenway Park early in the week as they scored 21 runs against Toronto, but then they went very cold out in the spacious Safeco Field and whether it was the better pitching, the large dimensions or a mix of both the Sox only scored 9 runs over the four games on the far coast, many of them coming via the homerun. As usual, David Ortiz was the biggest offensive force in the Sox lineup these past 7 games, as he drove in 5 runs, hit 3 dingers, and scored a team-high 9 runs to boot. Adrian Gonzalez still doesn’t have the type of power that Red Sox Nation is hoping to see from him, but he did hit .355 (to lead the team) over this stretch with 5 RBIs, but unfortunately he only scored 2 runs thanks to not reaching base via the walk over the same stretch. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was the only player besides David Ortiz to hit multiple homers, as he hit 2 round-trippers (including a huge solo shot on Tuesday to set up this play from Pedroia). Gonzalez and Ortiz led the team with 5 RBIs each, Dustin Pedroia added 4 (and 2 steals), and Saltalamacchia and Will Middlebrooks each had 3 RBIs, spreading the offense around for Boston.
The pitchers did their jobs this week. When you only allow 4 runs in 4 games to an opponent you would expect to win that series, but unfortunately all we got was a split in Seattle. The pitcher of the week award has to go to redhead Aaron Cook, whose super-efficient 81 pitch, 2 hit performance on Friday night reminded me of former Braves’ great Greg Maddux. Franklin Morales had the second best start of the week, going 7 innings allowing just 3 hits and no runs in a no-decision pitcher’s duel with Felix Hernandez. Beckett, Lester, and Matsuzaka all each had one solid start also, while Felix Doubront went 10/1 innings this week allowing 6 earned runs as the other Sox starter. The bullpen was again beyond solid, and is one of the brighter highlights for the club this year as weird as unexpected as that sounds.
This wasn’t the sharpest fielding week for the Boston Red Sox as Mike Aviles , Kelly Shoppach , Middlebrooks, Darnell McDonald, and Adrian Gonzalez all made errors over the past 7 days. The most important not of those is that Will Middlebrooks now has six errors on the year at the hot corner. I love this kid, as much as I have liked watching a rookie play in Boston since Nomar Garciaparra but he’s got to work on his fielding. If he wasn’t producing so much with his bat at the moment the Sox brass wouldn’t have been so quick to get rid of Kevin Youkilis, but now Middlebrooks has to flash his leather in addition to getting it done at the plate.
The Week Ahead
The Sox begin a three game set at the Oakland Coliseum now, with games tonight, tomorrow night, and Wednesday afternoon and then they will come home for 4 games against the New York Yankees. Originally scheduled as a normal 3 game series, the Sox and Yanks will play a double header on Saturday, so anyone inclined to watch some baseball should be prepared for a full 8 hour day between two teams that really do not like each other. The Sox have to focus on the Athletics first, and it’s unfortunate that Manny Ramirez is pregnant again and asked off the Oakland squad as I would have loved to see the Manny, Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick outfield play against their former team.