BOSTON -- First impressions of the Red Sox' 6-5, 11-inning win over Houston:
David Ortiz continues to laugh at Father Time.
Not only did he hit a game-wining double in the 11th inning, he tripled - yes, David Ortiz hit a triple - to drive in the tying run in the ninth and he smashed a mammoth home run over the bullpen in right center in the third -- the 513th of his career. So, he’s reached his quota of three-base hits in 2016 and continues to have a flair for the dramatic. Apparently 40 is the new 25.
More Ortiz history: The walk-off hit was the 24th of his Red Sox's career (including the postseason). The double was his 600th, putting him in exclusive company with Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron as the only players with 500 or more homers and 600 doubles.
The first look at the Killer Bees batting 1-2-3 in 2016 was impressive.
Aside from the ninth inning and the walk-off drama in the 11th, the first 11 pitches against the Red Sox were some of the most exciting of Saturday’s game. It was because Boston’s future flexed its muscles. Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Xander Bogaerts batted 1-2-3 in the order for the second time in their Red Sox careers. Betts got things started. JBJ extended his hitting streak to 20 games and Bogaerts slammed a ground rule double to bring in Betts. One could argue the future is already present.
Clay Buchholz continues to make the case that he should be the odd man out once Eduardo Rodriguez and Joe Kelly return to the rotation.
Buchholz showed some guts being able to shut the Astros down after giving up five runs, including a grand slam, in the first two frames -- but he still gave up five runs. With Kelly and E-Rod close to making their comeback, Buchholz has to be feeling the pressure. No matter what the excuse is -- his mental approach, his pitch selection or his lack of command -- it’s not going to fly once the other two are ready to go.
Tommy Layne has to be more consistent.
Maybe it’s because Javier Lopez set the bar so high when was he was Boston’s lefty specialist, but something about Layne is still unsettling. It probably has to do with the fact that he’s walked five batters through 9.1 innings so far this season. His ERA is below 2.00, but it could’ve been a lot worse if Junichi Tazawa didn't save his bacon in the eighth.
Junichi Tazawa was messed up mentally more than anything after he stumbled on the mound in the ninth.
Rhythm is huge with pitchers, as we’ve learned this past week with David Price. So, when Tazawa slipped, his timing was thrown off. The Red Sox were right to check on him, because his arm did hitch on the flubbed pitch, but all he needed was a pitch or two to get his timing back.