Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 6-3 win over Arizona
BOSTON -- Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox’ 6-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks . . .
1) The bottom third of the order can be just as effective as the rest of the lineup
The Red Sox lose this game without Sandy Leon, Brock Holt and Andrew Benintendi -- flat out. The trio scored all of Boston’s runs and had four of the team’s six RBI.
“We’ve talked a lot this year that that’s the part of the order that has the chance of separating us from some teams offensively,” John Farrell said following Saturday’s win.
Leon was once again on point with two runs and an RBI off his long ball. Somehow Boston’s catcher walked out of the game hitting .390 -- still in range of .400 miraculously.
“What Sandy Leon continues to do is not only remarkable, but it’s outstanding the way he’s come on this year,” Farrell said.
Holt took advantage of another Arizona error, taking two bases on a routine fly ball so he could later score on a Benintendi double. He also had his two-run homer to stretch the Red Sox’ lead from one to three. And Benintendi had himself another impressive game, going 2-for-3 (his fourth multi-hit game in the 10 he’s played in), with a double, run and RBI to his credit.
“Andrew’s come up here at almost a rapid ascent to the big leagues [with] his all field stroke,” Farrell said.
2) Brad Ziegler flourished in his biggest test yet
The submariner’s had some great appearances and some on the opposite end of the spectrum. Pretty typical of most relievers, but Ziegler’s better than that. The situation he walked into Saturday couldn’t have been a better test. Bases loaded, no outs in a three run game against your old team. Not to mention pitching at Fenway Park in front of the fan base that has been up-and-down with you since you arrived.
“Just take deep breaths, try not to breath a lot and just focus on one thing,” Ziegler said on how he maintains himself in those pressure situations. “There’s only so much I can do. Once I let go of the pitch the rest of its out of my hands.”
That worked pretty well for Ziegler, given he struck out all three hitters he faced in the eighth on only 10 pitches.
“I wasn’t going for strikeouts,” Ziegler said. “Maybe a little bit on the first guy because at any point after that I’m a groundball away from getting out of the inning . . . Fortunately tonight [I] got some swing and misses.”
Ziegler bailed out Matt Barnes, who’d bailed out Craig Kimbrel earlier in the week in a similar situation. And the big righty made sure he thanked his teammate.
“Yeah he gave me a big hug,” Ziegler said. “You could tell he was pretty tired when he went back out there [for the eighth] and he was fighting and grinding . . . He was great the inning before, and that’s what we try to do every night -- pick each other when we need it.”
3) Buchholz can be a useful starter in a pinch
Since his second turn in the bullpen, Clay Buchholz has been an effective option for the Red Sox, which made him the best option to start with Steven Wright on the disabled list. Although 4.1 innings with three earned runs to his name isn’t impressive, it was all the Red Sox needed.
The staff set a limit on Buchholz’s count prior to the game, which was why John Farrell pulled Buchholz when he did.
The righty felt he had more in the tank, but it would’ve been a poor decision to keep him in after not starting since 7/2.
And now the righty’s earned himself another spot start according to Farrell.
That’s also dependant on Wright’s recovery, which seems to be going well.
“Hopefully if I get another one maybe it’ll get stretched out a little bit more,” Buchholz said.
It’s surprising to think, but it turns out Buchholz has provided some help for this 2016 team.