'What we learned': Red Sox' 5-2 win over Indians
By Nick Friar
Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox' 5-2 win over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday. . .
1) David Ortiz will continue to surprise everyone
Sunday won’t be remembered as one of Ortiz’s biggest games, or even crack his top-10.
One bounce could’ve changed that forever.
Had Ortiz’s second ground rule double stayed in play - instead of bouncing just over the wall to the right of the 420 mark in right center - it looked like he would have completed the cycle with the triple.
But it didn’t happen, and he doesn’t seem fazed by it.
“Sometimes things happen for a reason,” Ortiz said addressing the near triple. “The way things are going right now . . . it’s not easy for a guy like me to hit a triple.”
Ortiz admitted he started to think about the cycle -- at the last possible minute.
“When I was rounding first base [after the hit] I was thinking about it, but as the ball bounced [I] kind of slowed down . . . I wasn’t aware of it until I was going around first base and I saw everybody going crazy and then I kind of heard I needed a triple for the cycle.”
After coming up short on the cycle and being stranded on second at the end of the frame, Ortiz walked off to standing ovation from the Fenway Faithful.
And it won’t be the last time he does that either.
2) Xander Bogaerts looks like the hottest hitter on the team at the moment
Now 29-72 during his 16-game hitting streak, Bogaerts is still not the bat being talked about in Boston’s lineup.
With the theatrics and nostalgia surrounding David Ortiz, and Jackie Bradley Jr. possessing a hitting streak 11 games longer, Boston’s shortstop isn’t the number one worry on opposing pitchers' minds.
But he should be.
Although he doesn’t possess the same power as Ortiz or Mookie Betts, Bogaerts often works as the catalyst of the lineup, especially with Ortiz continuously driving him in.
“He’s all over the baseball. He fights off tough pitches for the RBI bloop-single into right field. He gets a changeup up in the strike zone where he pulled his hands in great. He’s got such great hands. As much as we talk about Mookie [Betts’] hands, [Bogaerts] is in the same category.”
3) When things are rolling, Craig Kimbrel’s dominance flies completely under the radar
With the sun out in the final game against Cleveland, it only seemed fitting for the Red Sox to bring the guns out.
Both Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel were pumping fastballs in at 100 mph, giving Cleveland hitters little time to react.
Kimbrel quietly put together a stretch holding opposing hitters to a .034 batting average in his last 10 appearances, completing 7-7 save opportunities.
He’s seen his ERA plummet from 5.00 before his hot run to 2.37 after Sunday’s save.
While it may have seemed that Kimbrel was turning into a huge mistake in April, he’s proving to Boston fans that he’s not only worth the money, but still the game’s best closer.