Walks and Bullpen Key Victory for Red Sox
What do Victor Martinez, David Ortiz and Darnell McDonald have in common? They are the only 3 members of the Red Sox to not draw a walk in Monday night’s victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. In all, the Sox walked 7 times, 6 at the hands of Blue Jays starter, Brandon Morrow. Morrow lastest just 1.2 innings and allowed 6 earned runs on just 3 hits thanks to his inability to throw a ball over the plate. John Lackey also struggled and allowed 6 earned runs, but was able to do spread them out over 6 innings and do just enough to get the 7-6 win.
Both starters had trouble hitting the corners on Monday night (Lackey walking 3), but the Sox bullpen was great in the final 3 innings to preserve the victory for the big Texan. Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon pitched an inning each and did not allow a single hit in a nail-biting 1-run game. If the Sox are going to overcome poor starts this season, they need the combination of Okajima, Bard and Papelbon to be sharp in close games like they were on Monday. Pitchers thrive off of each other’s success, so hopefully this is a trend that will continue and motivate the other bullpen guys.
For the most part, the Sox looked solid on Monday. Offensively, the Sox put up 8 hits, only Darnell McDonald didn’t jump into the hit column and David Ortiz and V-Mart appear to be turning their season around with a combined 4 RBIs. As mentioned above, the Sox were patient at the plate and used BBs to their advantage. If they continue to be patient, good things will happen and there will be more RBI opportunities. A concern moving forward, however, is the fact that the Sox left 18 men on base, a number that needs to shrink in the future.
The Sox have now won their 1st 4 games this season against the Blue Jays, the only AL East team they can beat consistently. The Sox are a painful 4-12 vs the other 3 division teams (Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees), with 4 losses to each club. The biggest reason the Sox are sitting in 4th place in the AL East is due to their inability to win the games they need to against division rivals. The Sox play 72 games against their divisional rivals in 2010, giving them plenty of chances to win head-to-head contests and gain games.
The Sox look to take the series on Tuesday night at 7:10pm (EST) with Dice-K on the mound against lefty Dana Eveland.