Ladies and gentlemen, we are officially a winning team! For the first time ever in the year 2012, the Boston Red Sox possess a winning record! We are 25-24, and our winning percentage stands at .510! True we are fifth place in a five-team division, but the first thing we had to do was get over that hump. Now we can concentrate on staying over it and widening that gap between wins and losses. Anyway, we finally did it! It certainly took us long enough, that’s for sure; this is the longest it’s taken us since 1996.
Yesterday, Bard only lasted five and one-third innings. I’m telling you, if he’s serious about being a starter, the very first thing he’s going to have to do is get over that five-inning hump. Who ever heard of an elite starter who can’t get past five innings consistently? Maybe he doesn’t want to be an elite starter; maybe he just wants to be a starter. But if he has no interest in trying to be an elite starter, I’m pretty sure we have no interest in him starting.
That’s not to say that his outing wasn’t a solid outing. It was a solid outing. It was just a short solid outing. Bard picked up the win, walked two, and struck out four; it was his only appearance this month during which he struck out more than he walked. He gave up two runs on five hits, but both of those runs were the result of home runs, the first with one out in the fifth and the second to lead off the sixth. Bard got the first out in the sixth and then was relieved by Hill, who got the second out and walked a batter. Hill was then relieved by Atchison, who allowed a single and finally ended the inning.
Miller pitched the seventh and allowed a double followed by an RBI single, and then Padilla ended the inning and pitched the eighth as well. Aceves got the save in the ninth.
Fortunately, the offense kept just busy enough. We struck first; Papi led off the second with a double, moved to third on a single by Salty, and scored on a fielder’s choice groundout by Aviles. Youk singled to lead off the fourth; one out later, Aviles and Podsednik hit back-to-back singles to load the bases. Punto lined out, but then Nava crushed a bases-clearing double, and he crushed it on a fastball clocked at one hundred miles per hour. All but one of the pitches he saw in that at-bat were fastballs, and all of those fastballs were either ninety-eight, ninety-nine, or one hundred miles per hour. (The only exception was one curveball clocked at eighty.)
We kept it going in the fifth, which Gonzalez led off with a single and scored on a double by Papi. We broke the trend of leading off productive innings with productive plays in the seventh, which Gonzalez began by grounding out, only to be followed by a solo shot by Papi into the first row of the Monster seats. Just like Jerry Remy said, he has really come into his own this year with using left field. And he hit that off of a lefty to boot.
So the final score was 6-3. Five of our eleven hits were for extra bases. Podsednik went two for four, and Papi had a monster night. He went three for four, and all three of his hits were for extra bases: two doubles and the homer. Sweeney flashed some leather, pulling off a tricky sliding catch in the second and a running catch in the third. We even made it through a rain delay, actually one of the shortest I’ve seen in a long time at thirty-eight minutes. Look at us, all winning and whatnot!
A word on Pedroia: it turns out that he tore the adductor muscle in his right thumb. They’re going to try to put a brace on it and hope that he can play through it, since the alternative is spending a month on the DL. I just hope they don’t make a mistake. I obviously want him to play, but I also want him to be healthy and help this team win for a long, long time.