Don’t look now, but we just won again! I can hardly believe it. You know it’s gotten pathetic when you can’t believe you’ve won two games in a row at home, but that’s what it’s come to. It’s a step forward in the right direction. Let’s just be happy about this one.
Doubront pitched six top-notch innings. He allowed only one run on only three hits, which means that all but one of his innings were shutout innings, while walking only two and striking out five. He threw 109 pitches, so he still has his fair share of work to do regarding efficiency; not only does it make him tired earlier, thereby shortening his start, but it also gives the opposition a longer look at his stuff, and in throwing more of it, he gives the opposition more opportunities to use that knowledge to capitalize on any mistake he may make. So improving efficiency isn’t only about lengthening starts; it’s about lengthening and improving starts simultaneously, and at the rate our starters are going, we could really use improvements.
Good fastball, good curveball, good cutter. His changeup could use some work; he only threw about a third of them for strikes, so it’s lucky he didn’t rely on them and only threw about a handful. His best pitch for strikes was his fastball, specifically his four-seam, which he got up to ninety-four miles per hour. Doubront faced the minimum in the first, second, and fourth. He gave up one of his walks in the third, and he gave up the other in the fifth. He gave up his run in the sixth, which he opened by giving up a double followed by a groundout and an RBI single.
By the time the Tribe scored its first run, we had already scored three. Aviles began the third with a single; after Sweeney’s lineout, Aviles scored on a double by Pedroia, who scored on a double by Papi. Nava opened the next inning with a single; after Ross’s lineout, Salty doubled him to third, and he scored on a sac fly by Aviles.
Not only did we establish a lead prior to the Tribes’ run, but we also had an answer for it, and by “we” I mean Ross and by “answer” I mean a beast of a solo shot on a middle-in fastball out of the park. And by “out of the park,” I mean literally out of the park. It didn’t stay in the park. It cleared the Green Monster, billboards and all. It emphatically landed in Lansdowne Street.
After that, both teams sent only the minimum to the plate in each half-inning until the game ended. The bullpen turned in a solid performance to match Doubront’s; Miller, Padilla, and Aceves pitched one inning each for a total of three no-hit innings. Miller, who appeared in his third straight game, and Padilla each received holds, while Aceves recorded his seventh save.
So the final score was 4-1. We posted eight hits to their three; half of our hits were for extra bases, while only one of their hits was. We had twice as many opportunities with runners in scoring position as they did, and although each team only took advantage of one of those each, for us it was enough. There were two multi-hit performances, one by Pedroia who doubled and one by Nava. Pedroia, by the way, is quietly but certainly having himself a thirteen-game hitting streak, the longest ongoing streak in the Major Leagues. Sweeney, Gonzalez, and Middlebrooks all went hitless, and not one of our hitters walked during the entire game. Still, the staff turned in an all-around solid effort and, given that, the run support that was provided was enough.