Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 3-2 win over the Indians
Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox’ 3-2 win over the Cleveland Indians . . .
1) As weird as it seems, the Red Sox aren’t a bad one-run team
Somehow the Red Sox are in the middle of the pack when it comes to one-run games (14-14). To some, it seems worse because Boston has blown a few games in dramatic fashion. But the Sox' .500 winning percentage in one-run games is seventh in the American League and tied for 14th in all of baseball.
Doesn’t get much more in the middle of the road than that.
And the other team with a .500 record in one-run games is none other than the Chicago Cubs (16-16).
On top of that, the Red Sox rank ahead of the A.L. East-leading Blue Jays (13-19).
Still, the Cubs have eight more wins than the Red Sox and, of course, the Blue Jays enter Monday night's game against the Yankees with two more. It speaks to the sporadic, feast-or-famine nature of Boston’s offense, which is prone to do things like score nine runs one game and get shut out the next . . . as happened earlier this month in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.
2) Craig Kimbrel's narrow escape shows the need for adjustments
There was a big sigh of relief after Fernando Abad skated out of trouble in the eighth with a 3-2 lead, but heart rates around New England escalated when Francisco Lindor laced a leadoff double to start the ninth off Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel . . . who walked the next batter, Mike Napoli, with the same hanging curveball that Lindor crushed.
Yet he came back to strike out both Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis, and then -- after falling behind 3-and-0 -- got Abraham Almonte to pop-up to Dustin Pedroia to end the game.
Kimbrel struggled because he clearly didn’t trust his fastball. (Understandable, given he threw it all over the map.) But when he leaned on his curveball, he left it up in the zone too much. That’s why Lindor got a big hit -- and someone else would’ve, too, had he not changed his approach.
Kimbrel might not be all there in terms of health; the knee injury which sidelined him for (only) three weeks may still be affecting him. But he’s got to make an adjustment with his fastball at some point.
Because without that, all he’s got is a curveball that he can’t control much either.
3) Drew Pomeranz CAN get a big win
The offense that crushed Arizona over the weekend took the day off against Cleveland. But the hitters did just enough for Drew Pomeranz, who worked into the eighth inning for the first time in his career.
Pomeranz spent time as a reliever in his career, but it’s still a little shocking to hear that Dave Dombrowski traded a top-flight prospect for a pitcher who’s never worked that deep into a game. On the other hand, Dombrwoski might’ve looked at the situation and felt that meant Pomeranz has a lot more life in his arm because he hasn’t been used as much.
Either way, the left-hander came up big in the 3-2 win against a Cleveland team with some big bats.
Although the Indians' best hitters -- Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana and Jose Ramirez – aren’t household names, they’ve put together big seasons. Not to mention getting 29 home runs from former Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli.
Entering play Monday, the Indians were third in all of baseball with 5.11 runs per game, trailing only the Rockies (5.24) and the Red Sox (5.52).
“That’s a big confidence booster for the whole team -- personally, too,” Pomeranz said, with some relief in his voice, after earning his first victory as a Red Sox pitcher.