Sox Looking for Afternoon Delight


After taking the 1st 2 games of the series against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Sox turn their attention to an afternoon sweep of their division rivals. Tim Wakefield will emerge from his stint in the bullpen to return to a comfortable slot in the starting rotation, at least for one afternoon. The Sox look to continue their recent offensive surge and leap-frog the Blue Jays for 3rd place in the AL East. The game is scheduled to begin at 1:35pm, but there are rain showers in the forecast.

The most recent stint of wins for the Sox can be attributed to improved bullpen efficiency and an offense that is beginning to click as a unit. The past 3 games (all wins), the Sox have scored a total of 22 runs, outscoring their opponents by 12 runs. David Ortiz and Victor Martinez have hit better as of late, leading to many more RBI hits and opportunities for the lower 3rd of the Sox lineup. This offensive explosion is happening without 2 starting outfielders (Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron) and will only improve when they are reinserted into the lineup.

In terms of the bullpen, the Sox are beginning to see some consistency in the back end. The combination of Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon allowed 0 hits, 1 BB while striking out 2 batters in 4 innings over this past mini-win streak. The rest of the ‘pen only allowed 1 earned run in 3 innings, while collecting 3 Ks. If the ‘pen continues to limit walks and preserve slim leads, then the Sox will be on their way to 90+ wins.

The starting pitching has been improved for the Sox as well, which as Ian Browne pointed out in my Q&A with him, improved starting pitching takes stress off the bullpen and allows them to succeed in their own roles. Dice-K pitched better than he has in years on Tuesday night, allowing just 1 earned run on 3 hits in 7 innings, while striking out 9 Blue Jay batters. If he can continue to pitch at a high level, the Sox rotation will be much more balanced and will give team fits as the season wears on.

A win this afternoon would move the Sox to 3 games above .500 and give them their 6th straight win versus our neighbors from the north this season.

Today’s Lineups – 1:35pm at Fenway Park (courtesy of

Red Sox (18-16)
Scutaro SS
Pedroia 2B
Martinez C
Youkilis 1B
Drew RF
Ortiz DH
Beltre 3B
Hermida LF
Van Every CF

Pitching: RHP Tim Wakefield (0-1, 6.03).

Blue Jays (19-16)
Lewis LF
Hill 2B
Ruiz DH
Wells CF
Overbay 1B
Gonzalez SS
Bautista 3B
Snider RF
Molina C

Pitching: RHP Shaun Marcum (1-1, 3.19).