On the brink of a sweep in the opening series against their worst rivals, the Yankees, behind a stellar Andy Pettitte eight-inning effort, crushed the Red Sox’s dreams of a 162-0 season. Here are the four bases from Thursday’s game:
First Base: There is a new phenomenon sweeping the Red Sox media! Shane Victorino‘s “relentlessness” might be the next catchy saying sweeping the nation…well maybe Red Sox nation. The 32-year-old outfielder used his “relentlessness” yesterday, swiping second early in the game that allowed him to score from second on a Jackie Bradley Jr. single. Today, he tried to score from second again, but this time on a passed ball, with not as good of a result. John Farrell must have taken a deep breth when Victorino injured his right hand in a collison at home plate with Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, but the skipper probably exhaled when his outfielder jogged back out to right field the next half inning.
Second Base: José Iglesias is showcasing a new and exciting aspect to his game; bunting for a hit. And hey, he seems to be entrenched in the No. 9 spot in the lineup, so why not, right? Iglesias dropped down a squibbler in the sixth inning that pulled Kevin Youkilis off the back at first base, the second time the had done so in the series. Iglesias may not have Michael Bourn speed, but he may just have enough to make small ball a big part of his game.
Third Base: Ryan Dempster‘s first start in a Red Sox uniform was not terrible, but was not great either. The surface stats look passable – five innings, five hits, three earned runs, four walks, eight strikeouts – but may not have passed the eye test. To go a little deeper, his control problems can be exemplified with his two-seam fastball; he through his usually-reliable pitch in the strike zone 6 out of 18 times, and one of those strikes was a double for Eduardo Nuñez in the second inning. It is only one start, so an overreaction face (like this one – :-O) is superfluous.
Home Plate: Here’s an interesting question: would you have kept Lyle Overbay over Mike Carp? The 10-year age difference may seem like a mountain between them, but their spring training statistics make that mountain a little stronger. Here’s a quick comparison:
Lyle Overbay: .220 Avg., 0 HR, 5 runs, 7 RBI, 6 walks, 1 double, 2 triples (with Red Sox)
Mike Carp: .178 Avg., 1 HR, 6 runs, 5 RBI, 3 walks, 2 doubles
Hindsight is always 20-20, and it’s only one game, but it is ironic how one is playing regularly with the Yankees – and smacked a two-run single in the bottom of the second inning – and the other is essentially the 25th man on the Red Sox roster.
Beyond the diamond… Stephen Drew batted third in Portland’s debut and went hitless in three at bats, although collecting an RBI on a ground out in the first inning. He is expected to replace Iglesias on the roster when he returns, according to ESPN’s Jim Bowden… Drake Britton, who got shelled in his AA Portland debut, got a scathing Gordon Edes column written about him, mentioning his first degree misdemeanor charge for driving 111 MPH in a 45 speed limit zone last month. Britton lasted only three innings, giving up seven runs (3 earned)… Farrell is expecting some jeers when he returns to Toronto, according to the Boston Herald‘s Scott Lauber. Farrell said in his pregame press conference: “People are going to have their own opinions, and I respect that.”
(Dempster Image Courtesy of J. Meric/Getty Images)