'What we learned': Red Sox' 13-2 win over Twins
BOSTON - Three things we learned about the Red Sox in their 13-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night. . .
1) Every once in a while, it dawns on you - David Ortiz's final season is a look at history unfolding before us
John Farrell was rhapsodizing after another stellar game from Ortiz -- three hits, four RBI, one homer -- and noted: "We're watching, I would think, history, right in front of us nightly.’’
He's absolutely correct.
What Ortiz is doing -- 79 RBI in 87 games -- is extraordinary. He's on pace for one of his greatest seasons, period. But the fact that he's doing at 40, and in his final season, is all the more remarkable.
There's the endless ream of stats to track, and how Ortiz is on pace to have the most homers by anyone at his age, or the most RBI.
But sometimes, just watching him is enough context. You don't need to know how he stacks up with others at his age, or in their retirement seasons.
Instead, you watch him drive a ball into the screen in the right field foul pole, which is almost cartoonish.
Then, several hours later, you watch him launch a rocket into the right field bleachers off a major league pitcher. For his second homer in as many nights, for his fifth homer in his last seven games.
And then you check the numbers -- gaudy as they are -- and realize he's got more than two months to add to them.
2) Steven Wright -- again -- gave the Red Sox exactly what they needed
The Red Sox were into their bullpen in the fourth inning Wednesday, needing 18 outs from their relievers. They had spent Matt Barnes (three innings, 51 pitches) and Brad Ziegler (two straight appearances) and the bullpen was, to put it mildly, thin on Thursday night.
So Wright gave the Sox what he's provided in nearly every start this season: length. He didn't add to his stack of complete games, but he did take the Sox through eight innings, giving most of the bullpen some much-needed rest.
He's averaged just under seven innings per start in his 19 starts, routinely chewing up innings.
Historically, it's said the knuckleballers "eat up innings,'' as they tend to have the ability to go deeper than most thanks to the nature of their signature pitch.
But Wright isn't just "eating up'' innings -- he's consuming quality innings, which are more nutritious for the entire pitching staff.
3) Clay Buchholz actually deserves some credit
Look, Buchholz has pitched poorly this season. The numbers tell us that. And since he's making $13 million this season, there will be no benefits held for him. But it's not easy having had some success at the big league level, and then being turned into a virtual pariah.
Before he pitched the ninth inning -- with an 11-run cushion -- he hadn't pitched since July 2, and that was his only appearance since June 26.
There was probably a feeling of embarrassment when he finally got the ball in such an obvious mop-up situation. But Buchholz came in, threw strikes and retired three of the four hitters he faced. And afterward, he again took the high road and said all the right things -- about having to stay ready, about not really having a role and trying to make the best of it.
Even if he hasn't pitched like a big leaguer for most of the year, Buchholz has carried himself like one.