Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Game 67: In Which J.D. Drew is the Man...And I Ignore the Rest

Final Score: Boston Red Sox 6, Baltimore Orioles 10

The pitching messed up again. Horribly. Four different guys, trying to staunch the wounds, and only Delcarmen had any luck stopping the blood. Of course, by then it was too late: the heroes of the day had come, reestablished a lead, and gone for the night, and they wouldn't be coming back. Chalk it up to the nasty summer heat - which doesn't seem like much of an excuse for a starter who comes from the humidity-heavy area north of Houston - or maybe bad luck; it doesn't matter: Boston's pitching let this game die on the table.

However: all of that's not important, because despite the crushing defeat, the irritation of once again losing to Daniel Cabrera, the highlight of last night's contest was J.D. Drew regaining the lead by pulling a ball over the right field fence for a two run bomb, a hit that epitomizes what he's done for the Sox since taking Papi's spot at the number three slot.

In that time - somewhere between the 7 and 14 day splits tracked by Baseball Reference - Drew has owned the ball in the wonderful, necessary ways the Sox have needed to keep winning games despite the hole in the lineup. Batting average of .526, OPS at well over 1.800, four home runs in eight games; these are the types of numbers that we thought might come from signing a deal with the Devil and bringing in Barry Bonds, and instead, we had them pre-signed for a large amount without any additional moral or legal repercussions. Makes you feel good, doesn't it?

But Drew's ascension to The Man status makes me wonder how the team can continue to exploit his hot hitting after Ortiz returns - whenever that may be - and whether or not Drew should switch lineup positions at that time. Clearly the third spot agrees with him right now, but what surprises me is how little time Drew's spent batting fifth this season. He's definitely done well enough starting out the bottom third of the lineup, and he's well on his way to making 2008 one of his best seasons, but maybe flip-flopping Drew and Lowell or - to be a little blasphemous - Drew and Lowell and Ortiz might be in the Sox best interest to get the most out of one of their most expensive contracts.