If your offense is limited to one inning outbursts, you’d better be sure that you score enough runs in that inning to suffice for the entire game….
…the Boston Red Sox have pulled that one brief, intense scoring outburst the past two games against division rivals Tampa Bay, Tuesday night’s three run first inning not enough to sustain a Sox victory, so they know they would need more in Wednesday night’s game – and got more…a lot more.
Jon Lester went seven strong, yeilding two runs on eight hits, striking out five and running his record to 6-0 with an 9-2 victory over the Rays on Wednesday night at Tropicana Field. Even better news for the Sox, however, was a near average 5 for 11 at the plate with runners in scoring position, the result of which was the Sox largest one inning run total of the season.
It was the same folks doing the damage – Pedroia, Ellsbury, Ortiz and Drew coming through in an 8 run third inning that also saw contributions from the hot and cold Mike Napoli and the stone cold Jonny Gomes. Drew, who until just recently was hugging the Mendoza line, has come on of late as evidenced by his grand slam park job to right to cap the inning.
“It’s bound to turn around,” Drew said after the game in which he hit his second career full bagger, “We know the past couple games haven’t been too good with runners in scoring position, so tonight was a great night to have and hopefully we can keep it going.”
Will Middlebrooks, who is currently straddling the Mendoza Line, added a solo shot in the eighth to close out the scoring.
The issue that still remains is that while the Sox are able to string together hits, prolong innings and score runs in short, intense spurts, that’s all there is. Sometimes, like Wednesday night, it’s going to be enough, but most times it isn’t.
In Tuesday night’s 5-3 loss, Boston scored their three runs on two hits in the first inning, then were held to one hit for the remainder of the game. In Wednesday night’s win, they scored eight runs on six hits, then managed just one run on two hits the rest of the way, leaving five baserunners hanging in the process.
The recent trend suggests inconsistency across the board, and while a road win in Tampa is nothing to sneeze about, in the games that the Sox have had their most success – i.e., the month of April – they were able to string together multiple innings of consistency.
The good news is that we know it can be done. They’ve done it and we witnessed them doing it – the bad news is that, for whatever reason, they aren’t doing it now. The pitching has been good enough that their record should be better, so it’s all a matter of discovering what’s up at the plate…
…and perhaps they learned a little something about what that is last night.