27-19: Sox sweep Milwaukee at home

The Red Sox swept the Milwaukee Brewers this weekend in a three game series, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Seems like it’s feast or famine with this 2008 team, as they go on winning streaks directly after losing streaks. Ah, gotta love that inter-league play, right? Sox fans have been treated to a record the past three years against the NL, and 2008 doesn’t look to be too much different. It was good to have Terry Francona back in the dugout; he inspires so much confidence just by his presence there.

Game 1: Boston 5, Milwaukee 3

Due to a rain out on Friday, this turned into a Saturday doubleheader. Daisuke Matsuzaka (7-0) got his 7th win with a really great start. Perhaps the most encouraging part of his line: 2 walks. He was more around the plate this game, and appears to be willing to pitch toward contact a bit more than he has been. Said Matsuzaka after the game:

I guess I’ve stopped thinking I’m a pitcher that can paint the corners… I’m throwing a little less there.

He was more hittable, but the results were still very good. Trust your stuff, Dice-K. The Brewers only managed a two-run homer by Mike Cameron over 6 2/3 innings, and that only after a two-out error by Kevin Youkilis in the 7th. Yes, you read that right, Youkilis.

The Sox jumped out to a lead early on Jeff Suppan, with J.D. Drew walking in a run in the 1st and David Ortiz hitting his 8th home run of the year, a 3-run blast in the 2nd to LEFT FIELD. Papi looked great at the plate, going 2-2 with 2 walks. Like I said here, he appears to be back on track again.

Jonathan Papelbon threw just 7 pitches to earn the save, but one of those was a home run to second year player Ryan Braun.

Game 2: Boston 7, Milwaukee 6

This was another game of catch up for the Brew Crew, and to their credit, they almost took the game away in the 7th inning. While the home runs determined game 1 of the doubleheader, this one saw a lot more emphasis on defense and baserunning. The Brewers made four errors which cost them the game, but the Sox committed three of their own that played a key role in Milwaukee’s 7th inning comeback.

Mike Lowell fueled the offense early, with a double and a Monster shot to put the Sox up 4-0 after three innings. You gotta love that man’s production at Fenway. He uses this park to his advantage as well as anyone.

Tim Wakefield throttled the Milwaukee bats until the 6th, when he was chased by a Corey Hart home run and a 2-run single by Rickie Weeks. David Aardsma closed out the inning, then Craig Hansen came on for the 7th. Back-to-back infield errors allowed the Brewers to load the bases, and that seemed to rattle Hansen a little bit. After a fielder’s choice that scored a run, and a wild pitch, Hansen served up a 2-run double to Craig Counsell to give the Brewers a 6-5 lead.

Jacoby Ellsbury reached on an error by Weeks to lead off the 7th, then another throwing error allowed him to advance to third base. He scored on a David Ortiz ground out, and Kevin Youkilis played the hero with a bloop RBI single to score Dustin Pedroia for the margin of victory. That actually could have turned into a rally, but Lowell struck out looking and Youkilis was caught stealing second for a strange inning-ending double play.

That wasn’t the end of this comedy of errors. Javier Lopez made a gaffe in the 8th that allowed Ryan Braun to reach with one out, and then walked Prince Fielder, but later erased the mistake on a double play ball by Hart.

On the bases, Jacoby Ellsbury stole his 16th base of the season, putting him within two steals of Tim Raines‘ record. Pedroia also stole his 5th base of the year. Though he’s not fast, it’s nice to see him using his smarts to add some baserunning to his game in that 2 hole.

Game 3: Boston 11, Milwaukee 7

The Sox simply outslugged the Brewers in this game, as each side gave up 4 HRs on a balmy day at Fenway. Josh Beckett (5-3) went seven innings, and four of the six hits he gave up were long balls. He left fastballs high and out over the plate to Ryan Braun and J.J. Hardy, which looked like vintage 2006 Beckett. But he still managed to strike out nine and walked just one, so it really wasn’t as bad a start as it might seem.

With 15 hits and 5 walks, the Red Sox offense is clicking big time. David Ortiz went 3-5 and had two homers on the day. They were both still pulled out of the park, but that is no small feat at the Fens. Papi seems to be swinging with more abandon again, really going for the ball with gusto. It’s nice to see his big smile lighting up Fenway Park again. Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis added a home run each, in the 3rd and 7th respectively, with Pedroia adding an RBI single in the bottom of the 6th. With all the scoring, the lead flip-flopped a lot today, but Boston went ahead to stay in the 4th.

An error, single and walk loaded the bases with one out, and Julio Lugo walked in the tying run, but made the second out when he got caught between bases and was tagged out between 2nd and 3rd after Jacoby Ellsbury hit a bases-loaded single. Ellsbury was finally caught stealing today by Jason Kendall to end the 4th inning. It’s sad to see his pursuit of the record end, but he’s no less impressive as a basestealer.

Manny Delcarmen struggled a little bit with command in the 8th, but got out of a jam with only one run scoring, and Jonathan Papelbon finished it off for the sweep.

2 Responses to 27-19: Sox sweep Milwaukee at home

  1. Pat says:

    I just want to add that Papi’s double in the first (of game three) was a thing of beauty when he inside-out a pitch to left field.

    I’m glad our offense can carry us, but I wish our pitching was doing better. I feel like a lot of the pitchers are under preforming right now, and it will probably correct itself.

  2. redsoxtalk says:

    Pat, thanks for bringing this up; I wrote the Game 3 summary in a hurry and missed that. Here’s a nice interview with Dave Madagan that helps clear up what Papi’s doing differently:

    All those guys trying to compare Papi with Mo Vaughn better just be quiet. Ortiz is a very good hitter, get used to it.

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