Monday, September 8

Lester Dominates Rays, Sox Now Only a Half Game Back

On a night that the Red Sox broke the record for consecutive sellouts, Jon Lester threw 119 pitches and dominated a struggling Rays team as the Red Sox won 3-0 to gain yet another game on the Rays in the AL East. Between the surging Sox and the struggling Rays, Boston has gained 5 games in the last 7 days to close their deficit to only one half game....the closest they've been to first place in two months.

While I'm a little concerned about Lester's pitch count, the game was still very much in question and lets face it, the guy is a horse. The big lefthander appears to be getting stronger as the season goes on. He is now 9-1 at home with a 2.37 era at Fenway. He's been the Sox anchor and has set the tone for the series. Boston now sends Dice-K and Josh Beckett to the mound in their effort to regain the AL East lead.

The Sox got to Edwin Jackson early, scoring three runs in the first via a David Ortiz rbi double, Youk's rbi single and a crushed solo tater to center field from Jason Bay (he now has 28 for the year).....and it's a good thing they did as Jackson settled in and rendered them scoreless for the rest of his outing. Coco Crisp continued his surprisingly productive play, going 3 for 3 and extending his hitting streak to 10 games. Covelli hit .305 in August and is hitting .529 in the month of September...pushing his average up to .291 for the year....a number I never thought I'd see from Crisp. Good for him.

We all know you don't have to win the division to have success in the playoffs, but it sure looks like the Sox are poised to take home the AL East crown. They are winning and playing well at the right time of the season and have a favorable schedule down the stretch.

ITM Notes:
-Can we finally stick a fork in the Yanks, it has bothered me how much press they continued to get over the past few weeks while sitting 11 games out of the division and 7 out of the wild card. It's safe to say let's not talk about them again this year.

-NESN just showcased a great stat....Jonathon Papelpon has the lowest ERA in major league history for pitchers with a minimum of 200 innings pitched. The closest pitcher was from the early 1900's. In fact, the most recent pitcher in the top 5 was from 1917...safe to say this guy is special.

Go Sox.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just a comment as to your brushing off the importance of winning the division. Mazz did the same thing in his column today. But are you really saying you'd be willing to face LAA in the opening series? Isn't that what the Wild Team will get, or am I wrong? Personally, I'd much rather let them and TB hack at each other for a few games while we're with the CWS. And all that's not even to mention home-field concerns.

Derek Vicino said...

Good topic.....I wasn't brushing off the importance of winning the division, merely stating the obvious in pointing back to the 04' season. In my head I was actually "zinging" Mazz's article with that sentence in that I think it is important take the AL East.

I agree with your thoughts about the division, more so on the homefield advantage comment than our ultimate opponent. We could all think of many different situations where homefield makes a big difference....but why not point to our NBA champion Celtics?

With that in mind, it might be looking too far ahead, but we're only 1.5 games behind the Angels for the best record in the AL. I'd love to be lind up with the Whitesox, especially a CWS team without Carlos Quentin.

Anonymous said...

My fault in lining you up with Mazz.

Agree that homefield is the key, esp considering the way our pitching has responded at home this year. I still think it's crazy that the All-Star game decides that ultimate home-field matchup, but that's another story.

Wondering if you've heard anything on Quentin? When he first went down, they seemed hopeful he'd be back for the playoffs. Either way, I still definitely want CWS in the opening round if we can get them, but I was just wondering what the Quentin story is.

Thanks for the responses. Great blog.

Derek Vicino said...

Don't get me wrong about Mazz, I like him as a writer and i'm excited he's now with the Globe....I just didn't agree with yesterday's article. I think the Sox can and should make every effort to win the East...so long as it doesn't completely sacrifice our playoff hopes (i.e. throwing beckett for 110 pitches tomorrow night etc).


The latest I heard about Quentin is that he had a broken wrist. He should be having surgery to insert a screw into his wrist this week and will be re-evalutated in two to three weeks.....tough to think he'll be back at any point this season. I agree, bring on the CWS.

byebyeyankees said...

Yes...we can finally stick a fork in the Yanks....i'm almost surprised they are sticking with Girardi in 09'...but we'll see if that really pans out.

Timothy said...

I couldn't agree with Mazz's article more. I think his point was, its nice to win the division, but the Red Sox are in the business of winning the World Series. If they win the Wild Card and win the World Series, who really cares who wins the division. The Yankees won the division from 2001-2006 without winning a title, what does that get them.

I think the best boint is in 2005 when the Sox didn't clinch the Wild Card until the final weekend. Matt Clement then started game 1 against the sox...and the rest is history (sweep). Resting your players and lining up your pitching staff seems more important then where you finish so long as you make the playoffs. The Sox are a better home team, however I think good pitching wins in the postseason regardless.

That said, I too would enjoy winning the division over the wild card, however as Mazz pointed out, thers no parade for a division crown.

Derek Vicino said...

I don't think we were talking about winning the division for the sake of winning the division. It is my thought that we have the ability to win the East without straining our roster (e.g. increased innings, short starts or rushing people back). I'm not saying we "have to" win it, but the implications of winning the wild card and facing the Angels instead of taking the division (when it seems there for the taking) and facing the Whitesox seems fairly severe.

At this point we're also in the race for the best record and home field advantage throughout the playoffs (1.5 games back). So long as we're not rushing injured players back....let's let the Rays and Angels battle it out while enjoying home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

It's a tough balance, I don't envy Tito for being in this spot....but time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Should there be any concern, you think, over Lester's going more and more pitches these latest outings? Tito's said that he looks like a guy who's built to go deep, but still, he's young. What were his innings last year as opposed to this? He looks like he's getting stronger, but do you think if the Sox do decide to ease into the Wild Card rather than going for the best record, is Lester going to see his pitchcounts or innings lowered?

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