Runs, Hits and Errors: Sweeps, Streaks and Injury Tweaks


Well whaddya know. Red Sox starting pitching can string together a series of quality starts, at least for a week. Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, Daniel Bard, Jon Lester (two wins) and Josh Beckett ripped off successive wins starting with the May 11 7-5 win over the AL Central leading Indians. Taking three of four from a number one team felt good for a Red Sox club still looking up at the curb. They followed up with a double drubbing of a very bad Seattle Mariners team, and have split with both the Rays and the Phillies since then.

You say, “So what. They beat a bad team to extend the streak and the Phillies are in last place in their division.” Do you need to be reminded that Boston opened the month by losing two to Oakland and two out of three to the Royals? They also split with their division leader this during this period and snapped a six game Phillies winning streak on Saturday.

While Boston’s offense cranked out 52 runs since May 11 starting pitching, which generally has gone much deeper into games, combined with bullpen pitching to give up total of 24 runs, a respectable ERA of 2.44 runs per game. Meanwhile, Boston’s offense scored nearly six runs (5.77) per game during this stretch. That’s what gets a team to 7-9 over the course of the past 10 days. Yes, Daniel Bard laid an egg Friday in the loss to the Phillies as he continues to be the man in search of a starting pitcher’s mentality and Jon Lester got the win Saturday even though his numbers were so-so (8 hits and 4 earned runs over six innings).

"Another important trend emerging is Boston’s ability to stop losing streaks. During this period of solid play they have produced winning streaks and bounce-back wins after just a single loss. The point is, good pitching and solid offensive output are the cures for many ills and wins are wins, something that Boston will continue to need to come in bunches if they’re to gain ground in the division."

It was great to see Jarrod Saltalamacchia back behind the dish on Saturday after getting donged in the ear Friday night and removed from the game. Boston needs Salty’s hot bat in the lineup. Over the last seven games his numbers are frankly astronomical: a gaudy .526 BA, an equally outrageous .526 OBP. Salty’s slugging percentage is 1.000 and his OPS 1.526. Wow. When combined with Cody Ross (.368 for the week) and David Ortiz (.318 for the week), the trio has posted some impressive offensive numbers this past week. Boston’s top three last week combined for 24 hits, 17 runs, 16 RBI and 6 home runs.

Papi in particular has been a joy watch so far this season. He arrived in training camp slimmed down and ready to rock and that just what he’s done to date this season (.344, .412, .625, 1.034).  He continues to terrorize left-handed pitching, a trend started in 2011 and one that continues this season as he goes with the pitch, swings inside out, goes to left field and generally does what he needs to do to get the job done.

He’s got blood on his shoes and mud on his brim,
Did he do it to himself or was it done to him?
– Broken, Norah Jones 

The injury bug continues to plague a team that has essentially never been at full strength since Jacoby Ellsbury‘s injury. No, not the one suffered early in the 2012 season. I’m talking about his 2010 injury. Boston hasn’t be whole since.

Cody Ross fouled a ball off his left foot Friday night and, although x-rays initially proved negative he was still seriously gimping around the clubhouse Saturday. If he goes on the DL he’ll join another dozen Red Sox players who are already there.

After banging his head on the warning track Ryan Sweeney said he only had a little headache. Sweeney made a fabulous diving stab Saturday night in the right-center field gap in the seventh inning to save two runs and preserve the Boston win.

While battling a stomach bug Saturday night, David Ortiz tripped running to first base and said he wasn’t sure if he could  play on Sunday.

Oh, put me in, coach – I’m ready to play today;
Put me in, coach – I’m ready to play today;
Look at me, I can be centerfield.
– Centerfield, John Fogerty