Lester had another questionable start. Sometimes he goes through these phases where he’s really incredibly amazing, and then sometimes he goes through these interruptions where he’s mediocre. Yesterday’s start was a prime example of the latter. He gave up four runs on ten hits while walking only one and striking out eight over the course of seven innings. So that means that he knew how to find the strike zone, but the hitters kept figuring him out. His inability to efficiently deal with the Tribe led him to throw a total of 124 pitches.
He recorded the game’s first two outs before giving up a single followed by a steal of second and an RBI double. He issued a walk in the third, allowing the runner to advance on a groundout and giving up another RBI double. He then gave up another single, followed by a brilliant throw home by Gomes to save a run and gain an out. But then he hit a batter and gave up an RBI single.
Giving up three runs in a single inning is pretty disappointing, to which Lester himself can attest, seeing as he was visibly angry about it. But I have to say that one of his best qualities on the field is his composure, which allowed him to bounce back during the second half of his start, rallying to make quite an effort to keep the lid on the Indians.
The sixth inning was by far his best: fifteen pitches, three up, three down, all via strikeouts. The first two were looking on cutters; the last was swinging on a sinker. He recorded the first out in the seventh, gave up two consecutive singles, and induced a lineup. Second base was then stolen, and Lester issued a wild pitch that allowed Mike Aviles of all people to score.
Tazawa pitched an immaculate eighth, and Bailey pitched a decent ninth.
But none of that would have mattered had it not been for our absolutely crucial rally in the eighth. Until the bottom of the eighth, we were trailing by one. We scored our first run in the second with two out, when Iglesias singled, moved to second on a balk, and scored on a single by Ciriaco. Nava led off the fourth with a walk and scored on a double by Iglesias; the Tribe’s fielding error was a nice touch. With one out in the sixth, Iglesias singled, and then Ciriaco singled as well; it was a ground ball of sorts, but thanks to a throwing error, both Iglesias and Ciriaco ended up in scoring position. Ellsbury walked intentionally to load the bases, and unfortunately the only scoring play we could muster was a sac fly by Gomes that brought Iglesias home.
At the time, that sac fly tied the game, but like I said, Lester gave up another run in the seventh. All we needed to do was score two more runs and hold on for the win, but we ended up scoring one more than the entire run total we’d scored to that point in the game.
The bottom of the eighth began with an out. Then Ciriaco doubled, and Ellsbury struck out. Carp came in to pinch-hit for Gomes and doubled in Ciriaco to tie the game back up. Pedroia’s back-to-back double gave us the go-ahead. The ball bounced off the Monster, and we were on top. Anything after that, provided that Bailey held the lead in the next half-inning, was icing on the cake. Then Papi walked intentionally, Napoli walked unintentionally to load the bases, and Nava singled in both Pedroia and Papi.
We ended up winning, 7-4. We totaled eleven hits, five of which were for extra bases. All of them were doubles, and two of them belonged to Pedroia, who finished the game two for four with a walk. Iglesias and Ciriaco each went three for four. Nava, Papi, and Ellsbury each walked twice, the three of them therefore accounting for almost all of our eight total walks. Ultimately, it was a great game; you always want to be in a position to win from the beginning, but it’s nice to know that you can’t count us out even when we’re not.
In other news, the Rangers are done. Finished. Knocked out. That didn’t take long at all. Yesterday the Bruins won, 3-1. Quick work indeed.