Closing Time: Stephen Drew, David Ortiz go bonkers (in different ways) as Red Sox win
|07.27.13 at 10:53 pm ET|
BALTIMORE — Entering Saturday night’s contest, Stephen Drew was hitting just .223 with a .307 OBP and .389 slugging mark. Since coming off the DL, he was 1-for-15. He was not concerned.
“I feel great. I think I’ve hit the ball well, just have nothing to show for it,” said Drew. “I don’t think I’m in a slump. I think my at-bats are great. We ran into some tough pitching and untimely hitting. I’m hitting balls on the screws and just right at ‘em. That’s unfortunate.”
The shortstop found greater fortune on Saturday night, in part because he took luck out of the equation. Drew was 3-for-4 with a pair of homers while matching a career-high by driving in five runs, and with Shane Victorino also launching a solo homer, the Sox romped to a 7-3 victory to leave behind the baggage of a two-game stretch in which they had managed just a single run.
The victory did come with something of an asterisk for the Sox, as David Ortiz got ejected for a rage-filled convulsion that followed a balls-and-strikes argument with home plate umpire Tim Timmons. Ortiz, whose beef was with a 3-0 pitch called a strike (it was clearly high) and a borderline 3-1 offering, returned to the dugout and smashed his bat into splinters on the corner of the dugout by a bullpen phone, with splinters forcing teammates to take cover. He was ejected by Timmons and stormed back on the field, getting restrained by manager John Farrell and bench coach Torey Lovullo before stomping back into the dugout, where teammate Dustin Pedroia got in the slugger’s face for the potential damage he might have done to his team and teammates.
Here’s a look at what went right and what went wrong for the Red Sox:
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
— When the Sox signed Drew, it was likely with nights like Saturday in mind, the opportunity to feature a shortstop with solid defense and extra-base pop that is beyond the ordinary. And, with a sizable assist from the unexpected performance this year of Jose Iglesias, they’ve gotten it. The team’s shortstops have a combined .406 slugging mark with 35 extra-base hits, with both marks ranking fifth in the AL. The American League average shortstop is hitting .251/.302/.366; Drew’s average (.231) doesn’t live up to that modest standard, but his OBP (.313) and slugging mark (.418) exceed it.
— On a night when Ryan Dempster was working with diminished fastball velocity (mostly 87-88 mph) and, at times, control that suggested the possibility of a recurrence of some of the groin issues that limited him in May, he submitted a gutsy performance. Dempster was heavily reliant on a diving splitter and slider in working around six hits and two walks while striking out four in 5 1/3 innings, getting charged with two runs. He also did not allow a homer — the second straight outing in which he has not given up a longball, marking the second time this year that he’d kept the ball in the park in consecutive starts. He’s also now limited his opponents to three or fewer runs in 10 of his last 11 starts dating to May 28.
— Mike Carp gave the Red Sox an offensive boost, going 3-for-4 with a double and scoring a run. Carp is now hitting .329 with a 1.010 OPS on the season and .387 with a .945 OPS in July.
— Craig Breslow delivered a solid relief effort behind Dempster, recording 1 2/3 scoreless innings in which he permitted just one baserunner on a hit by pitch. He now has a 0.96 ERA in 18 2/3 innings on the road this year.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
— Ortiz will certainly face discipline — either a fine or potentially a suspension — for his ejectable objections.
— Junichi Tazawa submitted an unimpressive inning of relief, allowing a pair of hits and a walk. After walking just five batters and striking out 47 in 41 2/3 innings prior to the All-Star break, Tazawa has now issued three free passes in 3 2/3 innings (with three strikeouts, all in one outing) since returning from the break.
— Though it looked like Mike Napoli had been heating up at Fenway coming out of the All-Star break, he’s proven unable to sustain his promising signs in Baltimore. He went 0-for-4 with a pair of punchouts on Saturday, and is now 0-for-7 with a walk and four whiffs in the first two games of the series.
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