In last week’s column, I predicted the Red Sox could be reasonably expected to go 3-3 in their six-game road trip to Coors Field and San Francisco, where they would face some of the best pitchers in the National League (namely Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez and Giants ace Tim Lincecum). And that is exactly what they did. How the hometown team managed to win these games and overtake the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the AL Wild Card Race by a full game over the weekend was at times dramatic and in other instances the product of quiet execution.
Red Sox Have No Heart For San Francisco
If you were to tell me that in one week, a Sox team lost after knocking around 14-game-winner Ubaldo Jimenez for six runs in Colorado, saw its closer Jonathan Papelbon blow saves in consecutive games, and lost four vital players to injury, and would still have the third best record in the majors through June 28 (46-31), you’d probably be surprised.
First, the BoSox lost corner infielder/DH Mike Lowell and his arthritic hip to the 15-day DL while in Colorado. Then Friday in San Fran, one night after hitting a career-best three home runs and going 5-for-5 with 5 RBI in the best offensive game of his career, second baseman Dustin Pedroia broke his left foot hitting a foul ball off it and won’t be back until early August.
Saturday, red hot 10-game winner Clay Buchholz left early after injuring his left hamstring running the bases soon after collecting his first major league base hit. Then on Sunday, catcher Victor Martinez broke his left thumb on a couple foul tips and will miss at least 11 games as he joins Pedroia and Lowell on the 15-day DL.
Thank goodness it wasn’t a four-game series, right? The Red Sox couldn’t get out of San Francisco fast enough, even though they won the series 2-1.
Lester Saves The Bullpen
With apologizes to Seattle’s Cliff Lee and Tampa Bay’s David Price, Jon Lester is the best left-handed starter in baseball right now. In his last 13 starts, his ERA is an eye-balling 1.88. In his most recent start on Sunday in San Francisco vs. two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, the cancer survivor and ace of the Sox staff came through with one of his most important and dominant outings of the season.