The Boston Red Sox (now with 40% less starters!) gave a preview last night of what they’ll need to do to survive the next few weeks: hammer opposing pitching mercilessly. With Wells and Schilling out, and Bronson Arroyo likely to miss a start due to suspension, you really can’t expect AAA call-ups or relievers to step in and fill the void. But with this line-up, you can expect to outslug a few teams. Like the Sox did to Pedro Astacio and company. After Texas, the Sox face Detroit, Seattle and Oakland. With the exception of Harden, I’ll take the Sox bats against any of their starting pitchers.
Nixon, Tek and Damon went deep last night – all solo shots or the damage would have been a lot worse. Arroyo was brilliant through seven, Timlin got through the eighth with only seven pitches thrown, Foulke in a perfect ninth with 2 K’s and only ten pitches thrown. Very efficient. Keeping the bullpen fresh will also be critical for the next few weeks. Like every city except New York, the “Let’s Go Red Sox” chant was loud and clear in Arlington. The Nation grows.
In the Bronx, the Yankees pulled out a win against the Blue Jays. Chien-Ming Wang (for some reason pronounced Wong) started in place of Jaret Wright. He was perfect through three innings (and by listening to the YES announcers blathering, you would have thought Sandy Koufax was on the hill) but the Jays started figuring him out the second time through the order, getting six hits, two walks and two runs over the next four innings. Gordon blew the save in the eighth but the Yankees pulled it out in the ninth. Their pitching is suspect and many of them are off to a slow start at the plate, but A-Rod is playing like…well, like A-Rod, and they too have the ability to beat up on pitchers.
All things considered – Manny hitting .260, Wells and Schilling ineffective, Foulke’s early funk – a 12-11 April isn’t bad. Much like last season, Bill Mueller’s absence from the line-up seems to have a big impact on the team’s ability to win games. Having him back and healthy should be a boost. As will the return of Yoooouuuuk. He was 3-5 with a couple of RBI last night. Halama gets the nod today against Drese in the rubber game. Again, I like our bats to inflate Drese’s 6.25 ERA even higher.