The first inter-league game of the series didn’t exactly go as planned. With the pitcher hitting, the Red Sox lacked some punch, and now have to hope for a series split. Worst of all, the Red Sox saw the Jonathan Papelbon super fist pump.
Here are the four bases:
First Base: His story may have some cobwebs on it, but I still find Daniel Nava‘s tale entrancing from time to time. He hit his seventh home run against Philadelphia on Wednesday, which is the same team he hit a grand slam on the first major league pitch he saw. Nava now has as many home runs this year as he had in his career coming into 2013. He is converting from a good story into a good player.
Second Base: Once again, it is easy to point to the 1-for-8 the Red Sox had with runners in scoring position. However, a good amount of teams struggle with runners in scoring position. The Red Sox are actually seventh in the majors with a .282 average with runners in scoring position. The inconsistency of that average is more a problem. Take the Philadelphia series alone: 5-11 with RISP on Monday, 1-3 with RISP on Tuesday, and their 1-8 on Wednesday. That stat, though, can correlate with wins.
Third Base: Don’t look now, but John Lackey is becoming a…*gulp*… consistent pitcher. Lackey has four quality starts in his last five, and that’s not bad for a fourth starter. The three home runs is a little odd, even after he gave up 20 home runs in 2011. He has lowered his fly ball percentage all the way down to 26.8% in 2013, and has lowered his walks to 2.5 walks per nine. Who knows, it’s not too late to earn at least part of his $82.5 million after all.
Home Plate: Not that I question John Farrell‘s decisions a lot, but one was a head-scratcher. Why have Koji Uehara, who has not pitched more than one inning in any outing so far this year pitch in the ninth, especially since Andrew Bailey, Junichi Tazawa, Clayton Mortensen, and Franklin Morales were all available to pitch. Uehara pitched more than one inning only six times last year, so why have him do so tonight when he does not have to?
Beyond the Diamond… With the inter-league game, the Red Sox had to bat John Lackey tonight. Who got the boot from the lineup? Well, the easy decision, take the designated hitter out. So, David Ortiz sat out, and it is worth following to see if Farrell uses him at all at first base with inter-league a little more spaced out… After Alfredo Aceves started in his spot on Monday, Clay Buchholz is good to go on Friday, the first game of a three-game weekend series against the New York Yankees. Buchholz was scratched Monday after a minor collarbone injury, the only start that Buchholz has missed in 2013…
Minor League Scoreboard
Triple A:Pawtucket Red Sox 8, Indianapolis Indians 2 | Box Score
W – Graham Godfrey (4-3), L – Brandon Cumpton (4-3)
HR – Bryce Brentz PAW (10)
New Hampshire Fisher Cats 1, Portland Sea Dogs 9 | Box ScoreW – Anthony Ranaudo (8-1), L – Marcus Stroman (1-1)
HR – Xander Bogaerts POR 2 (4)
Salem Red Sox 8, Potomac Nationals 9 | Box Score
W – Greg Holt (2-0), L – Robby Scott (1-3), SV – Derek Self (4)
HR – David Renfroe SAL (2), Caleb Ramsey POT (4), Randolph Oduber POT (2)
Savannah Sand Gnats 1, Greenville Drive 5 | Box Score
W – Justin Haley (2-6), L – Robert Gsellman (2-2), SV – Jeffrey Wendelken (3)
HR – David Chester GRN (9)
(Photos Courtesy of Matt Slocum/Associated Press)