After three straight losses in the Catwalk-ed Catastrophe in which the offense could not have looked more anemic, the Red Sox have won two in a row, twice erupting in the ninth to put the games away. Thoughts:
- Now that David Ortiz leads all of baseball in home runs (30) and RBI (84), are Yankee fans still willing to bend over backwards to keep him out of their All-Star lineups? The contortions were amusing to watch when Papi was merely second in homers and first in RBI in the American League. I’d love to watch some more acrobatics, if it’s even possible to be so ridiculous.
- Thanks, Devil Rays. After three games of saying, "They have a good young lineup" to make us feel better, you strike out 10 times against Jaret Wright? No wonder you’re in last place. Let’s try to step it up the next couple of games, OK?
- For the third time: Ron Jackson is the best hitting coach in baseball. Alex Gonzalez collected just the fourth 4-hit game of his career tonight, and his first since 2001. He has seven hits in the last two games. Since that now-famous two-day break in May to go over his swing with Jackson, Gonzalez (hitting .197 at the time and hitless in five of his previous six games) is batting .370 (not counting tonight’s games, only five players in baseball had a higher average since May 24) and has failed to hit safely in just five of the 31 games. Since May 24, he has as many games with three or more hits as he does games with no hits.
- Batters vs. Jon Lester with the bases loaded: 0 for 11, 3 RBI. Good, but not so good at the same time. Nevertheless, the kid is the first 4-0 Sox rookie since Aaron Sele, and he was sharp from the fourth inning on. It looks like Lester’s got a little more poise than Sele had.
- The Sox shifted Thome, and he hit the ball the opposite way to beat it twice. But two singles is better than two three-run homers, and Lester’s strikeout of Thome in the fifth was pretty in negating the shift the third time up. It’s a good defensive strategy, and Thome proved why Ortiz has been content to let his average suffer (although it’s not suffering so much anymore) while he mashes homers.
- Manny Delcarmen’s curveball is filthy, and he’s locating it for strikes. American League hitters beware. If Hansen and Delcarmen are coming around — and it certainly seems they are — the Sox’ bullpen will be the best in baseball the second half.
Going to bed now with dreams of Hansen, Delcarmen, Timlin and Papelbon dancing in my head. OK that doesn’t sound quite like it was supposed to …