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.
FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price wrap up how the Patriots fared in the 2015 NFL draft and what they accomplished.
WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Ryan Hannable discuss the selection of 6-foot-2, 320-pound defensive lineman Malcom Brown out of the University of Texas by the Patriots with the 32nd overall pick Thursday night and where the Patriots might go to fill needs in Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday.
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?
Brian "White Mamba" Scalabrine joins the guys to talk about the Celtics playoff push, the development of Marcus Smart and James Young, and the prospect of Brad Stevens leaving the Celtics for a college job.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Larry joined the guys to discuss the Sox pitching issues and his role in Boston 2024.
Joe and Dave talk with Hanley Ramirez about the Red Sox beating the Blue Jays tonight behind another home run from him. They talk about how good he's been hitting breaking pitches and the way the team bounced back after the loss yesterday.
Live from Fenway, Dale, Michael and Jerry Thornton speak with Red Sox Manager John Farrell about just how bad his pitching staff has been.
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!
DJ, Naoko and Pete get into the huge week for the Bruins that saw the franchise move on from GM Peter Chiarelli. They discuss why that was done and if they agree. What does this mean for Claude? They talk about Claude and if he can exist here. If not, who would work in Boston? They also get into the NHL Draft Lottery last night and talk to ESPN Boston's Joey "National" McDonald live from Tampa, Florida.
Gerry, Kirk and Glenn spoke with Michael Wilbon.
The guys discussed the Sox dismal starting pitching.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys take a look at the 11 picks the Pats made, including long snapper Joe Cardona in the 5th round, a safety in the 2nd, and a CB in the 7th.
"AND DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME!" Christian tries some play by play of the Kentucky Derby. Mut's pick comes in dead last. Also, May the 4th be with you - Chewbacca to throw out the first pitch.
The fight went EXACTLY as everyone thought it would, leaving many to regret dropping 100 bucks to get this fight. There were a few highlights including a drunk Tom Brady, and an awful Jamie Foxx.
We discuss the disappointment that was the big fight, and how it seems like the glory days of boxing are so far removed that they'll never return.
Dale, Michael and Jerry discuss how the word 'reach' doesn't apply to the Patriots when it comes time to draft, and why we can't conclusively call any of this a success or failure for years to come.
We wrap up the program with the best in sound from this past weekend.
Mikey, Lenny, and Erin talk about the Sox 7-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Patriots Day and the Sox hold on first place in the AL East. Also, the Celtics trail the Cavs 1 Game to 0 in their 1st Round series and the 2015 Boston Marathon is in the books.
Mikey Adams, joined by Lenny Megliola and Chris Villani, talks about the Red Sox home opening win at Fenway and the Bruins fallout after missing the playoffs including the future of Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
Ben and Russ preview Revs vs Red Bulls, talk about the state of the MLS, and discuss the latest rumors and gossip.
In honor of the release of "Avengers: Age of Ultron," Jerry and his pal Adam "Uncle Buck" Cormack discuss the Golden Age of the Superhero Movie, why the genre is so popular and count down their all time favorite superhero films.
The NFL has welcomed 32 new players into the league as of last night and there are many implications for Fantasy Football this season. Jim Hackett & Pete Davidson of Rotobahn.com get into who was picked, where they landed and how the impacts the 2015 Fantasy Football landscape. Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Amari Cooper and Kevin White top the list of 10 skill position players taken in Round 1 and Jim and Pete have plenty of analysis and opinion to bridge the gap before Round 2 starts. Enjoy!
Gerry, Kirk and Glenn discussed the Mayweather fight.More from this show
Tom E Curran joined the show to talk about the possible approach that the Patriots had when the decided to go heavy on front 7 guys and not draft a CB until the 7th round.More from this show
Greg Dickerson and Chris Price break down the picks the Patriots made over the weekend, and take a phone call from WEEI's Mike Petraglia to learn what Coach Belichick had to say.More from this show
Bill Spiros, the Obnoxious Boston Sports Fan comes on to talk about the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight and the Red SoxMore from this show