Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 5-3 win over the Orioles
Three things we learned in Red Sox' 5-3 win
Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox’ 5-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles . . .
1) Mookie Betts owns the O’s
The numbers say it all. Eight home runs in 11 games -- three multi-home run games at Camden Yards, a .426 average, 17 RBI and 16 runs against the now second-place team in the AL East.
Betts is a big player on the big stage. There’s no way around it. And as much as he’s batting fourth to create a matchup issue for opposing teams, Betts might be the best fit at that spot in the order.
Because as much as David Ortiz is intimidating, the Orioles pitchers went after him with a little more effort because Betts was next in line.
“We talk so much about young players moving around the lineup and he has not changed his approach in the four-hole – doesn’t take on any added significance to the role,” John Farrell on Betts after his 2-for-4, two homer and five RBI day. “He is in some kind of spot right now, the way he is seeing the ball, the way he is making such hard contact.”
With Dustin Pedroia hitting .438 leading off (14-for-32) and Hanley Ramirez due back Thursday (10-for-27 with three home runs and three doubles in August), the Red Sox offense is in position to do some damage.
2) Eduardo Rodriguez seemed to find his stride
It’s unfortunate that his left hamstring became an issue because Rodriguez was cruising with no hits and seven strikeouts through four innings of work. He was dominant against his old organization.
“He [was] throwing the ball like he has the last few starts,” Farrell said on Rodriguez’s performance before his injury. “He’s relaxed, he’s free. He had such good life to that swing-and-miss fastball through the zone. He elevated it at the appropriate times, threw enough secondary pitches to keep guys off stride. He had a very good fastball tonight.”
Rodriguez was relentless with his fastball, throwing it on 50 of his 62 pitches, mixing in both his four-seamer and two-seamer. Farrell also expressed after the game that Rodriguez might not miss a start -- although hamstrings are tricky by nature. Either way hopefully he takes one thing away from this outing -- his off-speed serve a much greater purpose in small doses.
How concerning is Eduardo Rodriguez’ injury for Sox?
3) Adding Jonathan Papelbon has never seemed so right after Tuesday’s win
John Farrell expressed the Red Sox interest in Jonathan Papelbon a few times prior to Tuesday’s game and Dave Dombrowski wasted no time expressing his own interest soon after the former Boston closer was released by Washington.
Tuesday night showed exactly why the Red Sox need him.
As long as he’s willing to be a set-up man.
Fernando Abad was brought on to be a solid lefty arm out of the bullpen, but he’s been nothing more than a very good batting practice pitcher for opposing teams. Then the Red Sox were forced to rely on Brad Ziegler to get the job done, and Robbie Ross Jr. once a left-handed hitter came up. While Ziegler has had some bad moments, he’s been a solid add.
But Farrell has been forced to use the submariner in situations where it’s near impossible for him to succeed given his arm-slot.
Normally Junichi Tazawa would be a better fit, but he’s clearly not at full strength, otherwise he would be pitching more.
That makes Papelbon an ideal option, giving Boston a solid back end comprised of Papelbon, Ziegler, Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel.
And if they can find another lefty specialist who’s somewhat effective it’d be great. But truthfully, Ross has been a good option of late, striking out seven batters through 5.1 innings in August.
He’s a better answer than Abad at least.
But this frantic nonsense from the bullpen has to stop, and bringing in Papelbon, who’s actually played in this market, is now something the Red Sox have to entertain if he’s willing.