After Tuesday’s spectacularly well-pitched game, I was curious to see what was going to happen on Wednesday. Would Dice-K, who missed his last start due to the flu, be sufficiently healthy to pitch well? Would it be the strike throwing machine or the power nibbler? What would the Toronto pitching be like? Would our offense hit or sit on the sidelines as they have the last week?
This had to be the most bizarre case of deju-vu I can recall. It was practically the same game as the previous one; a remake of the same script.
Well, for yet another game in a row, the starting pitching was outstanding, Dice-K throwing seven scoreless innings. David Ortiz got a ball to land in the front row of seats in right field, 1-0 Sox. Manny Delcarmen gave up a single to lead off the 8th that led to the score being tied, 1-1.
Enter the ninth, where again Jonathan Papelbon kept Toronto at bay. Though Matt Stairs led off with a single, Papelbon was able to pick off the pinch runner. Dustin Pedroia made yet another great play to end the inning and rob the Blue Jays of a hit. Then, in the bottom of the ninth, David Ortiz singled, Manny Ramirez walked, and though Mike Lowell struck out, Brandon Moss (subbing for the sore J.D. Drew) hit a single through the middle to center field. Running for Ortiz, Jed Lowrie tried to score from second, but Vernon Wells had a perfect throw, and the Toronto catcher effectively blocked the plate. So, two ours, Moss on first, Manny on second. The captain, Jason Varitek, pretty much hit an identical single to the one Moss hit, and this time Manny was able to just barely beat the throw from Wells to win the game. Two walk off wins, back to back. Two incredibly well pitched games.
I like what I’m seeing here. One of the biggest problems the team has had this year has been getting starting pitching to go deep into the game. Even though the Sox lost the last two games in Tampa, the pitching delivered and allowed the bullpen to be saved from overuse. It was the same story in Boston for these two games, but the results were quite different.
It would be easy to attack the offense for it’s meager production the past week, but that would be ignoring that they ended up facing a couple of good pitchers and one great pitcher who were all having fantastic nights. Good pitching beats good hitting. The offense will re-ignite at some point, and if they can keep up this pitching, the team will be lethal.