So aside from Big Papi’s abortion, what else went on at Fenway Park last night?
Well, it just so happens the Sox survived a pitchers dual and came up on the right side of a 5-1 win over the Angels. And this is what is worth mentioning: Jon Lester threw another excellent game, JD Drew’s fever move up another degree, Jeremy Hermida belted his second big eighth inning double of the year, and little Dusty made a fine play to save Lester’s hide. All in all, an interesting night at the Park.
* Jon Lester wasn’t quite as good last night as he was in Toronto last week, but he was still excellent. Yeah, he wasn’t getting as many swinging misses last night but his economy was great through seven and he was swimming in ground balls. The Angles did manage to get a cheap run off Lester via an opposite field bloop but when they rallied in the eight, Lester got the ground ball he needed and the win he deserved.
Lester has now put together three good starts in a row and looks like he is now on a roll. And if you look at Lester’s numbers, two things stand out. First, the strikeouts are there. 37Ks in 37 innings. And two, Lester is generating a lot more groundballs this year. His GB/FB ratio is up around 1.3 up from under 1.0 in 08 and 09. If Lester can keep this up, with a better infield defense now behind him and all those strikeouts, he should be very successful going forward.
* I wrote yesterday that JD Drew was no longer heating up. Instead he was already hot. Well, his fever moved from 101 to 102 last night. He finished with two hits and the second one came after a terrific eight-pitch battle with Kevin Jepsen. Since April 28, Drew has raised his OPS by 230 points and he is taking more high ground each day. I like his chances tonight against Pinero.
* Now Juan Rivera gets an assist on the play, but points are awarded to Jeremy Hermida for the bases clearing double in the 8th. Following Ortiz’ fateful at bat, the pressure was on Hermida and he came up aces ….. again. Remember, a similar thing happened back in Minnesota when Hermida came up in a tight game and had a three-run knock that locked up a win. Listen, I don’t love Hermida but he has done a pretty nice job, coming in , adjusting to the bigger stage, and holding his own. I still don’t love him in the field but he is a competent hitter against RH pitching. Given the fact the Sox now need one of those, the off-season trade for Hermida looks prescient.
* Lester was in quite a bind in the 8th. Bases loaded, one out and Abreu at the plate. Thankfully Abreu hit the ball right at someone and that someone was Dustin Pedroia. I say that because some players might have screwed that play up. Perhaps got jittery and thrown home wildly. Others might have taken a shot at a 4-6-3 DP that surely would have been late. But not Dustin. He sized it up in an instant and decided he could end the inning with a tag-and-toss. It turned out to be the right play and perhaps a game saver.
* I absolutely love this quote from Dustin Pedroia on David Ortiz: “A couple of years ago, I was hitting .170 and everyone was ready to kill me, too. What happened? Laser show.” I don’t care much for the defense of Papi, but I am swimming in the fact that Dustin is now self-titling his offensive exploits. Laser Show? That is rich and it has me thinking that Pedroia has become the top quote in major league baseball.
* This was Terry Francona on Tim Wakefield: “He’s doing OK. I tried to stay away last night (Monday). He threw 33 pitches so it’s almost like a short start.” Terry, Wakefield threw on Saturday. Are we supposed to believe that Wake needs two days off after every 33-pitch beating?
* Farm Report: Today, we report from North Carolina where the Salem Sox moved to 18-7 with the help of two Jacks off the bat of Anthony Rizzo. The young first baseman has been slumping of late, but the two bombs bring his total on the year to four and help raise his slugging to .480. Rizzo still has some work to do at Salem but following Lars Anderson’s promotion from Portland, there is a spot open for Rizzo with the Sea Dogs.