After coming off a 6-1 road trip where they hit the ball well and scored a ton of runs, the Red Sox offense continued their torrid hitting at friendly Fenway tonight against the Oakland A’s. If I had to judge this year’s Oakland team by the first six innings of last night’s game, I would say the A on their hats stood for a minor league class A team. The better players in their lineup are Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, Kurt Suzuki and recently acquired Brandon Inge.
Clay Buchholz looked terrific as he showed excellent control with all his pitches throughout six innings of the game. He had a good curveball along with a 93 mph fastball and a biting cutter. His control was excellent the first six innings. If it was a six inning game he would have pitched a masterpiece. Unfortunately it was the usual nine inning game. He looked to me like he started to get a little tired even though his pitch count was low. After a hit, a walk, then two straight outs, it seemed as though he would get out of the jam. But another walk, a hit, and a three run homer by former Sox outfielder Josh Reddick got everyone a little nervous. The five runOaklandinning made the score 11-6. Bobby Valentine decided to keep him in the game but to no avail as he gave up another hit and then hit the next batter. Valentine saw enough and Buchholz was headed to the shower. I think the 7th inning would have been his last anyway but because of the bad inning Valentine ended up having to use five pitchers out of the bullpen to pin this game down. That’s what puts a lot of wear and tear on the bullpen and that’s why the relief staff gets worn down by mid-August.
Buchholz did get the win thanks to the two home runs by David Ortiz, a two run shot off the light tower in left center field by Darnell McDonald and a three run blast by Mike Aviles in the fifth inning. Dustin Pedroia and Mike Aviles both made good defensive plays to get out of jams and preserve the win. Aviles, especially, has shown a lot better range at shortstop as some of us thought. He’s playing similar to Scutaro did last year for the Sox with more power at the plate.
Marlon Byrd is doing a nice job since coming over to the Red Sox. He has a good bat and is a decent outfielder. I like Darnell McDonald because he is a long ball threat and always has good at bats.
The Red Sox are beating up on the teams they should be winning against. Once they get Ellsbury and Crawford back full strength they’ll have an even better lineup. They need Ellsbury more than Crawford because they can get by nicely in left field with either Ross, Byrd or McDonald. The one man they cannot afford to lose from an offensive standpoint is David Ortiz. He is the heart and soul of this lineup. Make no mistakes about it.