Three things we learned from the Red Sox' 3-2 win over Seattle
SEATTLE -- Three things we learned from the Red Sox' 3-2 win over Seattle...
1) John Farrell pushed the right bullpen buttons
The Red Sox manager took some chances in a tie game, first opting not to have lefty Fernando Abad -- victimized Tuesday night -- face Robinson Cano again, despite Abad's history of success against the Mariners star.
Instead, Farrell called upon Craig Kimbrel for the big spot in the ninth inning and was rewarded when Kimbrel got Cano to roll over on a ball to second.
That left Brad Ziegler for the save situation in the bottom of the 11th, and after a leadoff walk, Ziegler did the job and secured the final three outs.
It helped that, thanks to the complete game by Rick Porcello on Wednesday, Farrell had a full complement of relievers from which to choose. But given that the Sox had dropped two in a row and were in danger of losing the series - and losing more ground in the standings -- there was a lot at stake.
2) Brad Ziegler showed a lot of composure with two outs in the 11th.
Ziegler's a veteran who's been in the big leagues for more than a decade, and that came in handy in the game's closing at-bat. The Red Sox had shifted around on lefty pull hitter Sean Smith, with third baseman Aaron Hill in to the right of second and shortstop Xander Bogaerts positioned way wide of short.
That gave pinch-runner Luis Sardinas, representing the tying run, the liberty of taking a long, long lead down the third base line, dancing and trying to distract Zieger from the task of hand: getting Smith out.
At one point, Sardinas was about halfway to home, with the implied threat of a steal of home.
A lesser experienced pitcher might have been frazzled. Ziegler wasn't.
"I really didn't feel that nervous,'' recalled Ziegler. "I just wanted to make sure he wasn't going to run. When I took off after him (running toward), I just try to see if he might slip or fall or something and then I could beat him back to the bag. But other than that, I was pretty focused on the pitch I had to make. I just wanted to make sure they didn't steal a cheap run there.''
3) Drew Pomeranz doesn't seem especially troubled by his walk totals.
Pomeranz issued six walks -- one intentional -- and that was a career high.
"Obviously, I would have liked not to walk as many people,'' said Pomeranz. "I was just missing a little bit. They were pretty patient with some of my curveballs. I don't mind walking guys as long as I don't give up runs.''
But that ignores a larger point: by issuing as many walks as he did, Pomeranz denies himself -- and his team -- the opportunity to pitch deeper into games.
He threw 105 pitches, but that translated into just six innings. In fact, his wildness has undoubtedly contributed to the fact that he hasn't pitched past the seventh inning in any of his 21 starts this season -- either for the Sox, or, before that, the Padres.
If Pomeranz could become more efficient, his stuff is good enough to make him a very good pitcher. Until then, he'll have to settle for being a good pitcher who can't seem to go as deep into games as he should.