Three things we learned from the Red Sox' 6-2 win over the Angels
Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim . . .
1) Rick Porcello isn’t changing his tune any time soon
The righty’s last start didn’t go as well as he would have hoped, giving up four runs, but good enough for a Red Sox win -- typical 2016 Rick Porcello.
Well Friday’s start wasn’t any different. In fact, it was an improvement -- which is saying a lot.
Porcello’s first complete game in a Red Sox uniform couldn’t have come at a better time with the team on the ropes.
Although they’re staying well within striking distance of the AL East title -- with plenty of season left -- their losses have been more than discouraging, particularly the last two.
Boston’s most consistent starter took care of everyone on the staff. He worked past a fielding blunder in the second. He gave the offense plenty of breathing room. And, possibly most important, he gave the bullpen a much needed night off.
The relievers now have no excuse in the coming games. That’s of course barring a major meltdown from a Red Sox starter this series. Which could definitely happen.
2) Xander Bogaert's power isn’t gone
Boston’s shortstop is riding another respectable hitting streak, extending his run to 11 in the win.
While he’s hitting a blistering 20-for-47 (.426) in that stretch, Bogaerts has five extra-base hits in that stretch. While that’s not too bad in terms of percentages, his extra-base hit stats are padded by his two from Friday night. What’s more surprising that was only his second game in which he had multiple extra-base hits.
Clearly that hasn’t been crucial to the Red Sox success because he just needs to get on base for the David Ortiz to knock him in.
However, down the road, that does raise the question if Bogaerts will always be the best option for the three-slot. His power has developed this year, and he’s clearly an elite hitter, but it almost seems like he serves as a table-setter instead of a meat-of-the-order hitter.
That doesn’t mean Mookie Betts moves out of the leadoff role, but maybe Bogaerts will end up being a more serviceable two-hitter when Big Papi retires.
It probably won’t happen, given he’s hitting well over .300. And why change that when he’s proven that he tends to get comfortable in certain spots? But it’s a more that would make sense in years to come.
3) Tim Lincecum doesn’t have much left in the tank
His Friday night start was hard to watch. Lincecum had no idea where the ball was going in the first inning -- not even on his strikes. It really looked like Lincecum was about to chuck the Hanley Ramirez ground ball into the stands when he made the play -- almost like he had Chuck Knoblauch’s yips.
And that’s no joking matter.
Plus, given what “The Freak” once was -- with his diminutive stature and wacky mechanics -- it’s even tougher to witness. If a 10-year-old saw him throw tonight, he probably wouldn’t believe he once won a Cy Young.
Talk about a fall from grace. Hopefully for his sake things stabilize.
At the same time, it was great timing for Boston, given the recent troubles. They have beyond “in-depth” scouting reports on opposing pitchers, so they had an extra boost knowing they were facing a guy who’s struggling to keep his job.
Good thing the Red Sox didn’t sign him when he tried to make his comeback, which speaks volumes for where the Angels rotation stands after some key injuries.