Sox round into form quickly, sweep Orioles and Twins
April 23, 2009 1 Comment
What a difference a week makes. After a disappointing 2-6 start, the Red Sox have become the hottest team in baseball, winning seven straight games. During this stretch, the offense has really exploded, and Sox have outscored their opponents by a whopping margin of 55-20. They’ve summarily dominated their competition.
Beyond the streak, the way that Boston is winning is particularly notable, given that they’ve endured a rash of minor injuries during this very period. Both Opening Day shortstops are out, and Nick Green has been starting in the hole. Rocco Baldelli hit the DL, Daisuke Matsuzaka is out, Josh Beckett was suspended for one start; still they’re crushing the competition. So who’s responsible for the run the Sox are on?
Unexpected heroes at the plate. The offensive outburst is not due to the people you might think. Check out this list:
Mike Lowell – 11-22 with 2 HR and 10 RBI
Dustin Pedroia – 11-29 with 3 doubles and 4 RBI
Kevin Youkilis – 8-24 with 2 HR and 7 RBI
Jacoby Ellsbury – 11-32 with 5 RBI
J.D. Drew – 7-19 with 2 HR and 4 RBI
Nick Green – 8-24 with 1 HR and 6 RBI
David Ortiz – 8-30 with 5 RBI
Jason Bay – 6-29 with 1 HR and 4 RBI
Jason Varitek – 4-14 with 1 HR and 2 RBI
Rotation stability kicks in. Even with some spot starts in there, the rotation has really stepped it up, especially Tim Wakefield and Jon Lester. With the exception of the one bad start by Brad Penny, the starters are going deep and pitching extremely well during this win streak. They have averaged 6.05 IP/start, their combined ERA is 3.61, and they’ve only allowed 2 HR in seven games. If that isn’t a key to success, I don’t know what is. What happens when Dice-K and John Smoltz get healthy?
The bullpen pitches like it can. This bullpen has been unbelievable, sporting a 0.51 ERA and 0.74 WHIP over 17.2 IP.They’ve allowed one run over that span. One. Without a long man, the pen was taxed a bit with Penny’s short start, yet the depth has allowed it to keep revving every night. Everyone has contributed, and giving up just 10 hits and zero HR means that as a group they’ve been better than Mariano Rivera or Eric Gagne in their best years. The numbers won’t keep up, but this is the kind of bullpen we can look forward to this year; just wait until Daniel Bard forces the front office to promote him; he’s been electric at Pawtucket thus far, just unhittable.
So what to make of this winning streak? Will the Sox lose again in April? Yes. But this is the roster depth we have been praising on this site. Guys go down, other guys rise up and do a great job. There are only a few positions where medium-to-long term injuries (like Jed Lowrie) could really derail this team. This is what makes this team a serious contender and what should prompt you to spend freely at Jordan’s Furniture.