The Red Sox look like they have the makings of a formidable duo in the middle of the order, a notion that gained further credence on Wednesday afternoon in the Sox’ 6-5 victory over the A’s.
On a day when the Sox suffered through through listless innings to start the game, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli jumpstarted the offense in the bottom of the fourth when Ortiz slammed a double high off the Wall in left-center and Napoli chased him in by lining a double into the gap in left-center. That set in motion a three-run rally to tie the game, and both factored into a second straight three-run eruption (Ortiz with an RBI single, Napoli by getting hit by a pitch to load the bases) in the next frame.
Ortiz is showing signs of being able to produce even as he continues to find his rhythm, having gone 8-for-16 to start the year. Napoli, meanwhile, is emerging as a ferocious presence with whom opponents have little desire to contend (he got walked and hit by a pitch in his 1-for-2 day).
Their relatively new partnership (Ortiz played in his fourth game on Wednesday) suggests a potentially new dynamic for the Red Sox. For most of the year, the team’s success was predicated upon a series of dominating starts. Now, with Napoli torrid and Ortiz off to a strong start, the Sox may have an alternative path to victory available.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– Ortiz jumpstarted the offense in the bottom of the fifth inning by lining a first-pitch fastball from left-hander Brett Anderson high off the Wall in left-center, hustling into second with his third double of the year. He followed that by bouncing a shift chopper through the sparsely covered left side of the infield for an RBI in the fifth. Ortiz is now 3-for-7 against lefties this year.
– Andrew Bailey struck out the side to slam the door in the ninth, mixing a 95 mph fastball with a tremendous cutter.
– Stephen Drew, who was 0-for-8 against left-handers this year after striking out in his first at-bat against A’s lefty Brett Anderson, yanked a 2-1 fastball down the first base line and into the right-field corner for a game-tying two-run triple in the bottom of the fifth inning. However, he also fanned three times.
– With a first-inning double to left-center, Dustin Pedroia snapped a streak of nine straight games without an extra-base hit. During the stretch, despite the absence of extra-base knocks, Pedroia remained productive by reaching base at a .375 clip and getting on base in eight of the nine contests. He went 2-for-5 on the day.
– Daniel Nava delivered a bases loaded, pinch-hit single against reliever Chris Resop in the bottom of the fifth, to improve to 3-for-18 in his career as a pinch-hitter. The run, which gave the Sox a 6-3 lead at the time, provided the eventual margin of victory.
– The Red Sox bullpen delivered a pair of pivotal outs with the game in the balance. In the top of the sixth, Junichi Tazawa was asked to relieve Jon Lester with the bases loaded and two outs in a 6-3 game. Though he missed his location, Tazawa got a fly ball to center to end the threat, and he’s now stranded all six of his inherited runners this year. Then, after the A’s scored a run in the top of the seventh against Tazawa, Andrew Miller was brought in with a runner on second and two outs in a 6-4 game. The left-hander, who’d struggled throughout this season, punched out the only batter he faced, left-hander Brandon Moss, on a full count slider.
The Sox bullpen as a whole has now allowed just three of the 20 runners they’ve inherited (15 percent) to score.
– For the fifth time this year, the Red Sox knocked out a starter before he’d thrown five full innings. Only the Mets (7), A’s (7) and Tigers (6) have delivered that many early knockouts.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– Shane Victorino had to leave the game after the bottom of the sixth inning due to injury, potentially a recurrence of the lower back tightness that impacted his availability during last weekend’s series against the Royals.
– For the first time all year, Jon Lester struggled through an entire outing. He permitted six walks, the second most he’s ever permitted in a game, along with six hits (the most he’s given up this year), three runs (again, a 2013 season-high) and his first homer of the 2013 season. Still, despite his struggles, he still managed to contain his struggles to one inning (a fourth in which he gave up a three-run homer), and the Sox improved to 5-0 in his starts while Lester is now 4-0 for the year.
– Will Middlebrooks went 0-for-4 and stranded seven baserunners. Most notably, with the bases loaded, three runs in and no outs in the bottom of the fifth, Middlebrooks swung at a first-pitch fastball on the hands from right-hander Chris Resop, popping it up to shallow left. That, in turn, set the stage for the Sox to permit the A’s to escape the inning when left-hander Jeremy Blevins punched out Drew and David Ross flied to right.
Middlebrooks is now 5-for-54 in his last 14 games.
– Koji Uehara allowed a solo homer for the second time in as many outings, this one a blast by Chris Young. However, after permitting the solo blast that trimmed the Sox’ advantage from two runs to one, he recovered to get through the eighth inning without further incident.
The guys react to what Don Banks had to say and get into some more thoughts on Deflategate. Are McNally and Jastremski ever going to break their silence and give their side of the story? Price says yes ... eventually.
Don Banks talks with the NFL Sunday boys about his reaction to Brady's appeal, where we go from here and the NFL's motives and decisions throughout the process. He also gets into the Pats offseason so far and their weakness at CB. Don gives his take on the AFC East this year and how some of the Pats' rivals have improved.
Greg and Price discuss their thoughts on some of the reports that have leaked after Tuesday from Brady's appeal hearing. The boys talk about what the reaction will be if Brady decides to accept a 1-game suspension. Fans want a complete exoneration, but there's a good chance that they won't get that - how will they react? They also talk with Mike Petraglia and get his thought on the appeal and more.
How long will this rebuild take? How much money will it take to keep Bae Crowder? Are Draft Picks even worth anything? With the Danny Ainge not landing any big names in the draft, and unable to lure any big names in free agency, Sam and Ben discussed if the Celtics are doomed moving forward.
Sam is joined by Jared Weiss from The Garden Report and CLNS Radio to breakdown game 4 of Cavs-Warriors, preview game 5 on Sunday, and analyze the Celtics needs this off-season.
Greg Dickerson and John Tomase discuss the amazing season for the Celts and if they have any chance against Lebron and the Cleveland Cavs in a seven game series. If they do, HOW ... how do they get it done?
Joe & Dave talked to the Red Sox slugger, whose 7th-inning homer took the lead back for good in the win over the Astros at Fenway.
Joe & Dave talked to the Sox starter, who threw a much-needed complete game win against the Astros at Fenway Park.
Joe and Rob Bradford talk with Red Sox outfielder Alejandro De Aza about the Red Sox solid road trip and offensive outpouring in a win against Toronto.
Don Sweeney, who was hired as the Bruins general manager yesterday speaks with Dale and Holley about his new position and where the Bruins go from here.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
The great Ed Deveau joined us to discuss his retirement.
The guys discussed Rick Porcello getting another start.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Gary Tanguay.
David Ortiz hates the All-Star Game voting process. MFB and the callers try to come up with some alternatives.
We hear advice on how to avoid shark attacks. A couple of baseball-illiterate Irishmen offer some analysis. A firework enthusiast wins a Darwin Award.
The Red Sox won 2 out of 3 against the AL leading Houston Astros. Rick Porcello and his league-worst 6.08 ERA will face off against the Marlins on Wednesday, despite his continued struggles.
Nathans Hot Dog eating contest, Womens World Cup, and many many more...
The USWNT were redeemed by beating Japan at the World Cup. So we look back at some teams who redeemed themselves after losing to their nemesis.
In honor of the 4th of July holiday, guest hosts Rob Bradford and Andy Hart examine the four worst renditions of the Star Spangled Banner at sporting events.
WEEI Bruins Reporter D.J. Bean joins Mikey Adams and Lenny Megliola to talk about the signing of winger Matt Beleskey on the opening day of NHL free agency.
With 80 games played for the Red Sox, Mikey Adams wants midterm grades for several players. Also, after another Rick Porcello clunker in Toronto, callers and texters give unflattering Porcello Limericks. Lenny Megliola and Textress Lucy are along.
Danny's early thoughts on Celtics drafting Terry Rozier at the 16th pick
Dino, Sausage and Curtis recap their holiday weekends.
Ben, Russ & Alex discuss the Revs continued downfall & argue over The Mighty Ducks movie franchise
Ken Laird and Ryan Hannable are joined by special guests Mike Mutnansky of the Red Sox Radio Network and Red Sox minor league hitting coordinator Tim Hyers to talk Sox prospects. What do the struggles of Rusney Castillo and Rick Porcello in the majors mean? Also, the international signing period begins July 2, looking back at past Latin American signings. And June selections for affiliate players of the month
Greg Dickerson is joined by Super Bowl champ Steve DeOssie who presents the theory that Roger Goodell actually wants Tom Brady to appeal his suspension in court... and to win. Also, the guys defend themselves when a caller describes them as Patriots 'homers'.More from this show
The top stories of the day as recounted by Gary Tanguay.More from this show
Gary and Ben on the Pats.More from this show