Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 3-2 win over the Tigers
Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox’ 3-2 win over the Detroit Tigers . . .
1) Xander Bogaerts is finally making strides
Although he’s had a rough August, Xander Bogaerts has slowly, but surely, started to turn things back around. In fact, after Saturday night’s 2-for-4 performance, he has a six-game hitting streak going, where he’s 8-for-26 (.308). But until Saturday night, he hadn’t had an extra-base hit all month. His last extra-base hit was his home run in Boston’s come-from-behind win against the Angels on 7/29.
He launched a hanging slider off of Daniel Norris to the left-center gap in the fifth to help set up David Ortiz’s two-run home run.
“Bogey had a couple of really good-looking swings tonight,” John Farrell said on his shortstop’s performance. “And hopefully it’s starting to turn for Bogey [with him] driving the baseball a little bit more.”
While Bogaerts has mustered up at least one hit a game in his last six, Farrell focused on how his swing looked, before discussing how he hit the ball.
Because when Bogaerts isn’t lunging after every pitch, he’s going to give the ball a ride.
After the extended tough stretch, he finally seemed to be back where he wanted Saturday.
2) John Farrell is ready to shuffle the bullpen, again
Heath Hembree emerged from purgatory Saturday night to pitch in a close contest, following his scoreless inning Friday. The right-hander did well in his return. It would’ve been better had he not given the home run to the red-hot J.D. Martinez, but he’s been a problem for the rest of the Red Sox pitchers this series, too
“With Heath as clean crisp and efficient in the sixth, we’re thinking ‘Okay, we’ve got right-handers coming’ where he’s been so good against,” Farrell said. “But J. D. Martinez is in a real good place swinging the bat right now.”
But as soon as the ball left the yard, Brad Ziegler came in (he also had Robbie Ross Jr. ready). While he was shaky, walking two batters, he maintained the lead.
Matt Barnes didn’t give up the lead in eighth inning, but his two walks forced Farrell to go to Craig Kimbrel for four outs, something he hasn’t done often, but anticipated it before things got too out of hand.
“As that inning unfolded it was getting close, sure,” Farrell said on considering using Kimbrel in the eighth. “He had been down for four days, well rested. So yeah it was always in the thought.”
Saturday saw Boston relievers throw in scenarios they either haven’t been in a while, or relatively new to them. That shows Farrell is committed to changing who he trusts and finding out what’s the best combination in tight ball games.
3) Monday’s outing from Drew Pomeranz wasn’t a fluke
Pomeranz came into Saturday off the longest start of his career and his first Red Sox win. He wasted no time picking up where he left off, working through the first two innings on 16 pitches -- 15 of which were strikes.
“Well, Drew, once again, attacked with his fastball,” Farrell said. “He was extremely efficient.”
Pomeranz would only get through five -- solely because of the hour and ten-minute rain delay -- and only on 51 pitches.
The lefty’s been under scrutiny since Dave Dombrowski acquired him for Boston’s top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza.
It didn’t help that he dropped the ball in his first start either. But now, Pomeranz has made four starts in a row where he hasn’t allowed more than two runs to score.
“You take away my first [start with the] Red Sox and everything else has been pretty much right in line with what I’ve been doing all year,” Pomeranz said. “I’m just looking to build each time. Hopefully next time it won’t rain on me. I think we’re in a dome, so I think I’m good there.”
Pomeranz has been trending upward since his first start in Boston. The lefty has a 3.06 ERA in six starts -- with five of the runs coming in one start.
Dombrowski’s move is finally starting to look like the one the Red Sox needed.