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Home » May 2010 Game CommentsMay 2010 » For the Birds

For the Birds

Yesterday’s home run derby at Camden Yards was only carried forward to today’s game by Jason Varitek and J.D. Drew. Their two solo shots were the only runs the Red Sox managed as the team went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

Josh Beckett snapped out of his April funk with one of his best starts of the season: 7 innings pitched, 6 hits, 2 earned runs, no walks, and 6 strikeouts. It was a welcome change from Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield’s almost criminal performance the night before. Indeed, in one dugout shot from a NESN camera Matsuzaka was sitting next to a uniformed police officer.

Other individuals who could be found guilty of malfeasance:

  • With runners in scoring position, David Ortiz has a .136 batting average, .175 on-base percentage, and .182 slugging.
  • Similarly, Victor Martinez has poor numbers with runners in scoring position: .211, .318, .368. Not the percentages a manager would like from the three-hole.
  • Drew isn’t doing as badly as Ortiz or Martinez with runners in scoring position (.267, .350, .733), but he is only batting .214 and his OBP is a paltry .306.
  • Hideki Okajima is sporting a hefty 2.13 WHIP and has just 5 strikeouts compared to 4 walks in 8 innings.

And yet eight innings is not a reasonable sample size. Twenty-five games a season does not make. But what is frustrating is to watch the widening gap between Boston and the pair of teams leading the AL East, Tampa Bay and New York, especially as a result of a sweep by the cellar-dwelling Orioles.

While I don’t put a lot of stock into what most of what Jim Rice says in terms of baseball analysis, his insights into the everyday life of the locker room could well be accurate. In the post-game show he said that players tend to play to the level of their competition. Perhaps Boston did subconsciously underestimate Baltimore and will rile themselves up for the upcoming series against the Angels, Yankees, and Blue Jays.

Or better yet, maybe those teams will take the fourth-place, sub-500 Red Sox for granted.

Game 25: May 2, 2010 ∙ 10 innings
Red Sox
2L: Jonathan Papelbon (1-2)
HR: Jason Varitek (5), J.D. Drew (5)
3W: Matt Albers (2-3)
2B: Rhyne Hughes (2), Matt Wieters (3), Ty Wigginton (4)

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