Friday, August 24, 2007

Game 128: The Right Way to Start

Final Score: Boston Red Sox 11, Chicago White Sox 3

Not a particularly inspiring start for Josh Beckett - seriously, how many 16 game winners/staff aces start out a game by walking in a run - but despite the 70+ pitches over three innings Beckett finally settled down and held on long enough to pitch five and two-thirds, surrendering three runs (including a two-run shot that brought the Other Sox back within striking distance), seven hits and three walks while striking out four. He won't look back on it as his best work, but a win's a win's a win, or something like that.

Jon Garland, on the other lucky SOB, although in the end his escape act ways didn't mean anything more than a loss. Still, he last for seven innings and while he didn't exactly keep his team in the game, he did keep the pot from boiling over with Red Sox runs. In many ways I'm grateful for that; Texas aside, blowouts, especially early blowouts, always seem to guarantee offensive failure in the second game. By keeping the Sox bats relatively quiet, Garland might have done Boston a big service. I guess we'll see in about an hour.

His successors, though; well, they were the gift that kept on giving. Two innings, four pitchers and none of them managed to record an out with letting at least one man on base. Mike Lowell especially had a field day: 3 for 4 with two runs, two RBI and a walk. In the eighth inning, Francona started making replacements - Youkilis and the now very intriguing Bobby Kielty - and they knocked in runs. The revolving door on the mound had another bonus, too: as the game quickly moved out of Papelbon zone and then out of Gagne zone, the potentially big problem of three innings of bullpen use in the first game of a doubleheader became a non-issue, leaving plenty of big guns on standby for tonight. I'm liking our chances.