Closing Time: Seven-run second leads Red Sox past Indians
|04.16.13 at 10:38 pm ET|
As baseball games go, it was hardly dramatic. There were no signature moments for the Red Sox in their 7-2 victory over the Indians, mostly just the methodical routine of Red Sox lineup members willing to sit tight and take their walks as Indians start Ubaldo Jimenez proved unable to harness his stuff in the strike zone. But, at a time when Red Sox players shared the confusion and concern of the residents of the region where they play, there was, perhaps, something reassuring about a victory no matter the form it took.
The Red Sox walked five times in the second inning against Jimenez, seeing a total of 44 pitches from the starter, just 19 of which were strikes. Jimenez could not pitch his way out of the second, getting bounced after just 1 2/3 innings, at which point the Sox — despite some inefficiencies and strike zone difficulties from their own starter, Felix Doubront — were able to cruise to their fourth straight win, improving to 9-4.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– The Sox walked nine times, the third time this year that the team has accepted six or more free passes in a game. Jonny Gomes led the slow-motion charge with three walks.
– Mike Napoli followed up his walkoff double on Monday with a 2-for-5 game that included a pair of doubles and three runs batted in on Tuesday. Both of his doubles came in the Sox’ seven-run second, with his second — a bases-clearing, three-run smash to center — effectively putting the game out of reach for the Indians. Napoli now has a five-game hitting streak in which he’s gone 7-for-21. He also made an excellent defensive play to complete a double play in the eighth, sprawling but keeping his toe on the bag while catching a throw from shortstop Pedro Ciriaco that was well wide of first base.
– The Red Sox enjoyed two shutout innings of relief each from Clayton Mortensen (one hit, one walk, one strikeout) and Alex Wilson (one hit, one walk, one strikeout, five groundball outs).
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– On the one hand, despite the fact that he was making his first start in 10 days, Felix Doubront kept the Indians lineup in check. He limited Cleveland to two runs (thus extending the Sox’ streak of consecutive starts yielding three or fewer runs to 12) while punching out seven in five innings.
At the same time, armed with a huge early lead, Doubront labored to find the strike zone, falling into the trap of inefficiency that characterized significant stretches of his 2012 season. While it seemed that Doubront may have turned a corner at the end of last year, when he had back-to-back seven-inning outings in his final two starts, Doubront has logged just five innings in each of his first two outings. He needed 104 pitches (throwing just 59 for strikes) to labor through his five innings of work on Tuesday night. In a game where the score might have suggested little need for the bullpen to stir, Doubront instead entrusted four innings to Sox relievers.
– Daniel Nava went 0-for-4 with a career-high four strikeouts. Despite the fact that he did not make contact, he did contribute with some strong defense in left field, including an excellent sliding play in left.
– Though Will Middlebrooks worked a walk, he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Since his three-homer game, he’s now 2-for-25 with 10 strikeouts.
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