The story last night was, quite simply, Jonathan Van Every. The former Indians farmhand went 2 for 4, drove in 2, the more important of which was himself, in the 10th, with a game-winning homerun. Must have been a pretty sweet feeling to do it off the team that didn't think they had any room for him with the big club. A few more games like that and Van Every might become a significant cog in the Sox right field (where leg muscles go to die), with Baldelli and JD Drew fighting something-or-others. Another good sign for the Sox---Jacoby Ellsbury contines to heat up, going 3 for 5 last night and improving his average on the season to .289.
The starting pitching was a less optimistic story. Jon Lester, though settling in nicely and mowing down the Indians through the 4th, 5th, and 6th, continues an uneven season, with a pattern starting to emerge: balls left over the plate early (generally a bit high). Sound familiar? Is it possible he's reverting to 2007 Jon Lester? Let's hope I'm just seeing things, and just pray, pray, that we never hear the term "arm fatigue" in the same sentence as "Lester" this season. (Rereading this paragraph, I understand that last night's performance was all right and not nearly cause for such concern, but what can I say? I'm a worrier.)
On the other side, Carmona wasn't much more stable. Though he only gave up two runs, control problems put him in a number of tight situations. But when his sinker is on, he has the makings of a hell of an efficient pitcher. That, and, let's be honest, when Fausto is on the mound and Asdrubal is at second base, that's the highest concentration of 'names I wish my son could get away with' you're going to find on a diamond.
Ultimately, this game came down, once again (how many times already this season?) to the strength of the Sox bullpen. Lester settled in and went six, but the Sox needed scoreless relief from Lopez, Delcarmen, Okajima (with the W), and Papelbon in order to get this game won. You just can't say enough about the job the pen has done so far this season. (Though has anyone else notice much less percussion out there? Is there a correlation between the absence of rhythm and the success on the field?)
So the Sox move on today to Tampa Bay, who's been suffering from an early season hangover after last year's success. Don't be surprised, though, if the Sox visit is just the thing to stir the Rays. With Beckett and Garza tonight, it'll be a telling start to the series.
So enjoy. It should be a hell of a night, with the Sox and the C's both in the crosshairs.