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.
Dale, Michael and Jerry dig into the details of this draft for the Patriots with ESPN's Mike Reiss.
Giardi and Price discuss the Tom Brady appeal getting overturned and Roger Goodell's victory tour. The guys can't believe the victory lap and some of his behavior. The more you listen to him, the more frustrating his behavior becomes.
Giardi and Price break down how the teams in the AFC East altered their futures after the NFL Draft weekend.
Sam Packard is joined by Celtics 2nd Round draft pick Abdel Nader to discuss his path to the the NBA and how he plans to improve his game. Sam then talks to Player Development Coach Nick Friedman from Elite Skills Training, the pre-Draft camp Nader attended. Friedman also gives his opinion on the Celtics performance at summer league and the development of Jaylen Brown.
Isaiah Thomas talks to Glenn and Lou about why he loves Boston, the NBA Money Bump, oh, and some Durant guy
Danny Ainge joins Glenn and Christian to explain the Celtics draft process; and he also discusses the trade rumors that permeated the night.
Tim Neverett talks with Red Sox manager John Farrell before game 3 of their series with the Tigers. John talks about the struggles Steven Wright has had in inclement weather or days with high heat and humidity and how that might factor in to giving Wright the start on a particular day.
Drew Pomeranz looked stronger in his second Red Sox start but the offense wasn't there to back him up tonight. Mut recaps the 4-2 loss to the Tigers. Thoughts on the manager, the bullpen, and your Sox calls as well.
Joe Castiglione & Tim Neverett talked to the new Sox reliever, who got his first save for the team today against the Twins.
Joey Mac joins Ken Laird on his Saturday show to discuss the David Backes addition and Loui Eriksson departure in NHL free agency
DJ and Pete continue to assess the season that was for the Bruins and look toward the future for the franchise and how they can improve.
DJ and Pete are together for the final Sunday Skate of the season. They get into their overall thoughts on the season, the Bruins keeping Claude Julien on as head coach and the end-of-season press conferences last week. They discuss the rebuild process, what the Bruins need and how they can obtain it. Plenty of callers have their own theories and opinions on all of these topics as well.
Dino, Gerry and Tango discuss a few Patriots storylines as Pats camp is about to open.
The 8am hour with Dino, Gerry and Tanguay is a bit of a hodge-podge of discussion, starting with the Democratic Convention and moving on to marathon swimming and archery at the Olympics and ending with Tanguay's defense of Hillary during the Benghazi attacks.
Tanguay and Dino team up to read the day's 'Headlines', including gross reports of the water quality at the Olympic water locations in Rio.
The guys listen to Belichick's press conference and break down what he has to say. They also discuss what they think the Pats should do with their qb reps during camp
The OMFers are joined by Red Sox President Sam Kennedy to discuss the current state of the Red Sox.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian open the show discussing the latest Red Sox pitching implosion. They get into Steven Wright's struggles pitching in humidity, and David Price not living up to expectations.
Dale and Holley w/Thornton talk about some of the lingering issues about the Pats heading into training camp.
With the news that Tom Jackson is leaving ESPN we take a look back at some of Jackson's greatest hits.
Dale and Holley close out the show with the best sound of the day!
Kirk Minihane is joined by Boston comedy legend Lenny Clarke. If you are a fan of stand up comedy this is the podcast for you. Kirk and Lenny talk about Carlin, Pryor, Williams, Murphy and many more.
Kirk Minihane is joined by former ESPN ombudsman and New York Times writer Robert Lipsyte. Kirk and Robert discuss the current state of ESPN and how Robert feels he did in his role as ombudsman. They both criticize ESPN for the lack of journalism at ESPN and look at some of the curious decisions the world wide leader has made in the past few years.
Kirk Minihane is joined by Lenny Dykstra to talk about his book, his life pleasing older women, and Lenny tries to avoid his past issues with money. This is one explosive episode.
This week we preview the last major of the year, The PGA Championship.
John Dennis and Gerry Callahan bring Gary Tanguay in the podcenter to discuss Tango's bargaining position for Dino's job when it opens next year. The guys also discuss Kirk Minihane's latest podcast with Lenny Clarke.
Christian Fauria and Dr Gill talk about what you need to do to be in the best shape to help your golf game. What exercises you should and shouldn't be doing so you can impress on the course.
John, Gerry and Bradfo discuss a rare political stance by Michael Jordan, and the ensuing criticism he received from ESPN talking head Kevin Blackistone. A Black Lives Matter discussion ensues.More from this show
Dino, Gerry and Rob Bradford give their thoughts on the opening night of the Democratic Convention in Philly. Paul Simon, Al Franken, Sarah Silverman, Michelle Obama and Bernie are among those discussed.More from this show
Dino, Gerry and Tanguay discuss night two of the Democratic Convention, "highlighted" by Bill Clinton's attempt to humanize Hillary Clinton with tales of their courtship.More from this show
Rob Bradford is thrust into 'Headlines' duty by John Dennis, and Bradfo does his best to spin a few entertaining news yarns.More from this show
The 8am hour with Dino, Gerry and Tanguay is a bit of a hodge-podge of discussion, starting with the Democratic Convention and moving on to marathon swimming and archery at the Olympics and ending with Tanguay's defense of Hillary during the Benghazi attacks.More from this show