The Red Sox finally pulled out a close one on Sunday. Carl Crawford managed what seemed like his first hit of the season. It wasn’t. It was his seventeenth. The Jed Lowrie was on third base at the time and there were two outs in the bottom of the ninth making Crawford’s hit of the game-winning variety. The hit also makes him, I believe, the first True Yankee on the Red Sox roster.
While Crawford’s was a clean single up the middle, Lowrie’s was a gift from the baseball gods. His deep fly ball to right field sat up in the sun long enough to burn through the retinas of anyone unfortunate or stupid enough to follow it. Ichiro Suzuki was the helpless spectator with the best seat in the house as the sun’s rays rendered him incapable of anything short of falling over. Somehow Ichiro managed to find his way under the ball – pure guesswork he later admitted – and, in a feat which should be passed down from generation to generation by its elders, it hit him in the thigh.
The win upped the Sox record in one run games to a still disrespectful 2-5. It won’t get much easier on Monday as Cy Young candidate Jared Weaver will face a recovering-from-the-pukes Clay Buchholz. We can all hope he doesn’t have a reoccurrence while we’re watching during dinner. A few other notes:
It’s been said before, but I’ll do it again: Tim Wakefield is the man. His five and two thirds innings were one of the keys to winning. Watching the same guy season after season after season play for the Red Sox is enjoyable and in some odd way, comforting. I won’t pretend Wakefield is a more valuable player on the field than he is, he’s not a Hall of Famer or anything close, but I’ll miss him when he’s gone, which will probably be soon.
It’s not like Jarrod Saltalamacchia is doing much great behind the plate or next to it, but he has at least started to hit the ball hard occasionally. He got a hold of one last night, hit it on a line right at Ryan Langerhans in left field. That should be an encouraging sign. This is where I reiterate my stance on Salty: give him the vast majority of the at-bats at catcher until at least the All Star break and reassess then.
One factor in the Red Sox slow start is their lack of power. Their team slugging percentage is .378, good, if you can call it that, for tenth in the American League. That probably overstates how good they’ve been in that they’re ahead of the A’s, Twins, and Mariners, punchless teams who play in cavernous ballparks. The Red Sox have hit 22 homers, just less than half the 45 of the AL leading Yankees. Youkilis, Ortiz, and Gonzalez, the three hitters the Red Sox are counting on to provide power, have a combined eight homers of which Youk has five. Despite playing in a ballpark that is “made for him” Gonzalez has only one. Ortiz the refashioned slap hitter has hit two, though he did hit one high off the left center field wall last night.
Jared Weaver and post-puking Buchholz tonight at seven from Fenway.