Red Sox: Three final thoughts about last night’s walk-off win over Pirates

Apr 5, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon (3) hits a two-run walk-off home run during the twelfth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon (3) hits a two-run walk-off home run during the twelfth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

Reflecting on three key moments from the wild extra-innings victory by the Boston Red Sox against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Chris Sale was everything Boston Red Sox fans expected tonight. He threw seven scoreless innings with one walk and seven strikeouts. He allowed three hits and got the no decision. Daniel Cassese already covered it here with full details of the start and background information leading up to it.

I am normally a supporter of the “win” statistic, but in situations like this, I hate it. It is such a shame for Sale to have an outing like he did and not get recognized for it. All he cares about is winning, but he deserves the credit of keeping us in the game.

Besides Sandy, the bullpen, defense, and Jackie Bradley Jr carried this team to a win.

The Sox bullpen really stepped up today throwing five scoreless inning with two hits, two strikeouts, no walks, and ,most importantly, no runs.

After watching the bullpen allow all the inherited runners to score on Monday, I did not think that the bullpen would be this good for this game. It looked like a weakness on Monday, but now it could be a strange strength.

The Red Sox started this game by being down an arm with Robbie Ross Jr out with the flu. Farrell started out with Matt Barnes, who appears to be his favorite. I like Barnes too, but not as much as everyone else. I think he is really good, but he kind of has the same problems Kelly has. Hard thrower with little command and that does not always turn out well. He proved me wrong today by not even allowing a hit with one strikeout. Good job Barnes.

Craig Kimbrel came in the ninth inning and I was scared as hell. Every Sox fan saw what he was like in non-save situations last year and all I was thinking about is if we would see a repeat of it. I really did not want him in the game at this moment and would have preferred anyone else. Thank God I was proven wrong.

I am still skeptical of him and will always be in non-save situations until I see a bigger sample size, but he pitched well today. His velocity was normal and was not very wild like he has been recently. He did his job and preserved the tie game for us to try to come back.

The Red Sox did not come back in the bottom of the ninth, so Heath Hembree was the next man up. He allowed one hit in two-thirds of an inning and then Robby Scott came in for the lefty-righty switch. I am very impressed with Scott so far. I like his velocity and how he is reliable. He is a big arm in the pen.

Joe Kelly was the star of the bullpen tonight. He went two scoreless allowing only one hit and picking up the win. It felt like Farrell was hesitant to use Kelly in big moment situations, but the time called for him. Before the season started, the team wasn’t sure if it was going to get September 2016 Kelly or June 2016. Well, they flipped the coin right in this game. He was back to looking like September 2016 Kelly and that was just what the bullpen needed. Hopefully he keeps it up. Oh and weird stat of the day goes to Mr. Kelly. Who would you think has the longest active winning streak in the majors. Is it Kershaw? Scherzer? Sale? Lester? Nope, it’s Kelly!

Gold Glove defense saves this game with great plays from Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley Jr.

Dustin Pedroia, the 2016 Wilson defensive player of the year winner, showed why he won the award this season. He made a great diving stop to save the ball from going into the outfield. It was a tie game in the top of the ninth with a man on first one out. If he didn’t make that play, then that there could have been runners on first and third and only one out. It could’ve lead to a big inning for the Pirates, but Pedey saved the day once again!

Pedey made a great play in the ninth and then Xander Bogaerts had to one up him in the tenth. He showed his great defense that is much improved from previous years. Bogey made a leaping throw between the edge of the infield and outfield ranging almost into shallow left field. It was a classic shortstop throw with the great scoop by Moreland. It saved a runner from being on base and in extra innings, you never want to allow a runner on.

In the late innings portion of the game it is always important to keep the energy up in the ballpark and Bradley did that with his amazing catch. He was running in from center, dove, and took a base hit away from the Pirates. It was the 12th inning of what seemed like a never-ending game and he stopped the Pirates from gaining momentum. This man was robbed of a gold glove last year, so he is making sure that it does not happen this year. He’s showing everyone that he’s the best defensive center fielder in the league! 2017 Gold Glove winner Jackie Bradley Jr!

Jackie Bradley’s bat and speed ignited this team, being the only consistent hitter of the game.

Bradley went 2-for-4 with one walk, one stolen base, and scored the winning run. He kept grinding out at bats and showed why he can be a tough hitter to get out. His two hits were both singles, with the last one being the most important one. He started the 12th inning rally. Once on he got on, he showed his impact on a game.

He stole second in a poor attempt. He almost got picked off, but the throw was wild and he was safe. I think that play rattled the pitcher and hyped up the crowd even more. It was a defining factor which put him on second with only one out. Pablo Sandoval walked and then the rest was history. Bradley was an All-Star last year and with his play to start the season, he’ll be an All-Star this year!

Next: Red Sox 5 – Pirates 3: Three final thoughts

The last time the Red Sox started the season 2-0 was in 2013. Can you say GOLD BOTTLES?!