BOSTON -- First impressions of the Red Sox 6-4 win over the Baltimore Orioles:
Hanley Ramirez and Travis Shaw both came up in the clutch.
With both corner-infielders struggling at the dish, it was good to see them both get extra base hits and knock in runs at pivotal points in the ballgame.
In Ramirez’s case, there have been multiple instances this year where he’s been considerably early on off-speed pitches, so launching an 81-mph slider is a good start to getting his power-game on track.
Shaw was looking immensely overmatched at the plate -- so any hit is a positive sign. And for it to come off a 99-mph -- on the edge of the outside corner with two strikes -- is, again, another good sign.
Steven Wright didn’t give up runs after the Red Sox proved his with some.
There have been countless times this year where Boston’s offense has scored runs, only to have the pitchers give up a run in the ensuing inning.
That can be a momentum killer, especially when the offense has bailed out the pitching staff on multiple occasions.
Wright’s fastball continues to develop into a weapon.
Yes his mid-80’s fastball is complimenting his knuckleball well. It almost works as an inverse change-up -- keeping hitters honest so they can't sit on his hard or slow knuckler.
Chris Young hitting another hard-throwing righty.
For a guy who couldn’t hit righties -- forget power righties -- he did a pretty good job of lining a 98 mph fastball on the outer half in his first at-bat against Baltimore’s Kevin Gausman.
He had some good swings in his second at-bat, too, even though he weekly grounded out to the first baseman.
Christian Vazquez looked more comfortable handling the knuckleball.
One big reason was Wright’s pitch wasn’t out of control. It danced well, but didn’t trickle out of the zone excessively.
If he gets his hitting on track -- and gets his arm strength to 100 percent -- then there’s no reason he can’t catch all of Boston’s starting pitchers and tkae a day off as needed.
He may have given up six runs, but Gausman has a lot of potential.
Mainly because he has such a live arm -- and locates better than most hard-throwers. His off-speed wasn’t particularly great, but if that splitter or slider is a little more consistent, he could become one of the better pitchers in the AL East.