While the K-ball was working for him last night, if there’s one nitpick with labeling Anderson a star at this point, it’s that he doesn’t strike enough guys out. But really, it’s just a nitpick. He walks so few batters that his relatively light K/9 doesn’t matter. Since 2009, among pitchers that have tossed at least 300 innings, he’s sandwiched between Justin Verlander and Adam Wainwright on the K/BB leaderboard. Pretty good company.
That’s all a long-winded setup to try to urge you not to worry too much about this one. Anderson’s excellent, and he took it to Boston last night. On the bright side, John Lackey pitched well. Granted it’s a lineup that goes David DeJesus – Josh Willingham in the 3-4 slots and it’s about as friendly a pitching environment as you’ll find anywhere, but it’s a start. Lackey went six innings, struck out only three but walked just one and yielded four hits. He looked good.
There’s not much else to say other than to point out another few data points in a mounting list of them suggesting Terry Francona doesn’t really know yet how to deploy this team. I like Mike Cameron in there and I think I like him in there against just about every lefty. He’s going to hit, but he won’t hit until he sees more plate appearances. So I like that Tito is sticking with Cameron. I don’t understand Darnell McDonald playing last night, though. A .301/.355/.386 hitter against southpaws, Jacoby Ellsbury has a non-existent platoon split. He should have been playing last night. And while McDonald’s veteran and roster status made him the obvious choice out of Spring Training for the 5th outfielder job, there’s no need to force it trying to get him regular playing time.
Tito sort of fumbled his bullpen management duties last night, too. It’s a minor quibble because teams need to be able to rely on more than just three relievers over the course of a season, but sticking with Dan Wheeler to start the eighth after 23 pitches in the seventh, and then turning to Hideki Okajima, struck me as a bit careless. Bobby Jenks had thrown all of six pitches since Friday night and, at 1-0, the game was still very much winnable at that point. Two wall-ball doubles, a single, a walk and four runs later, it was no longer winnable.