I followed the first three innings of this one online before rushing home, discovering my cable box was out of whack, unplugging it and hoping that would fix it (it did), and finally getting NESN on just in time to watch them waste a bases-loaded opportunity. Scoreless after six, this was another well pitched game, the kind I really like. Lester works a little slower than I’d like, but that’s a small complaint when you see him pitch like he did today.
Everything he was supposed to be in his first start, everything he showed during the fourth game of the World Series, it all came out today. 6 2/3 scoreless innings, this from a guy who didn’t make it past four barely a week ago. Just as Dice-K bounced back masterfully last night, Lester was equally impressive today. Was it the trip to Japan and the unfamiliar atmosphere and jet lag and all of that stuff that made these guys lackluster last week, was it that it was basically still spring training time of the year? Maybe one, maybe both. But back in semi-familiar locations and routines, things are starting to look up. I’m really psyched to see if this translates to the rest of the rotation. I’m looking forward to Wakefield’s start (in a dome, his preference), wondering if Buchholz can get it together for his start, and wondering what we’ll see when Josh Beckett returns and faces major league hitters for the first time in ’08. I hope these last couple of games set the tone for the start of the season: well pitched games, well-played, with hits coming when they’re needed most.
Kevin Youkilis just got the Major League record for most consecutive games at first without an error, a nice thing to have in addition to that (well-deserved) Gold Glove he won for last season.
Though they wasted plenty of opportunities early on, the bats really started coming to life at the end. David Ortiz broke out of his 0-12 start with a single, and followed that up with a two-run homer later on. Varitek, Crisp, Cora, Pedroia and Youkilis all single consecutively, bringing it to 4-0 in the 8th. Varitek added a solo homer in the 9th. Tight pitching matchup all through the beginning, and then towards the end the bats wake up. Brian Corey pitched 1 1/3 innings, flirted with trouble a couple times but kept it scoreless, and then Manny Delcarmen finished it in the 9th.
I LOVE MLB EXTRA INNINGS
Seriously… I’m lucky to live in an area where I don’t have any blackout restrictions, and I’m watching the Mets come alive… 3-0 against the Marlins early on… I love baseball time of year.