'What we learned': Red Sox’ 11-7 win over Giants
BOSTON - Three things we learned from the Red Sox' 11-7 win over the San Francisco Giants
1) Drew Pomeranz won't get a second chance to make a good first impression. But he can't wait for next Monday
Pomeranz, wisely, made no excuses for his abysmal outing -- five runs in three-plus innings after the Red Sox had staked him to an 8-0 lead.
Then again, there were some extenuating circumstances associated with his debut.
Beyond whatever self-inflicted pressure he had placed on himself to do well in his first start for the Sox, Pomeranz was pitching with 12 days of rest -- if you don't count his inning of work in last week's All-Star game. And even that came eight days ago.
After experiencing little trouble through the Giants' order the first time, Pomeranz was strangely off in the fourth inning. He walked the first hitter -- with an eight-run lead, no less -- and the Giants appeared to lay off his cutter and changeup.
Worse, Pomeranz couldn't properly command his fastball, and when he wasn't missing and falling behind with it, he was watching it leak back over the middle of the plate.
Look at it this way: there's nowhere to go but up in his second outing.
2) Nights like Wednesday make you wonder what Hanley could be capable of if he focused like he did after being hit
Ramirez was already off to a great night with two homers and some stellar plays in the field when he was hit in the fourth inning by Albert Suarez.
It was almost certainly a message pitch -- either because the Giants wanted to make him uncomfortable and back him off the plate, or they didn't appreciate his leisurely strolls around the bases both times. Or both.
Whatever the motivation, Hanley got the message.
"That fired me up,'' said Ramirez. "It makes me a better player because I get so angry. Sometimes, Hanley's just not Hanley. It's somebody else.''
In the midst of his outer-body experience, Ramirez essentially called his shot (after telling Suarez "I'll get you back'' following being plunked) and launched homer No. 3 into the Monster Seats.
If Ramirez could streamline some of that more often, it's scary to think what he could do.
But in the meantime, he remains endlessly fascinating and entertaining.
3) Matt Barnes has made himself arguably the Red Sox most important reliever for the next few weeks
With back-end pieces Craig Kimbrel, Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa all sidelined, Barnes is a key piece for the Sox for the foreseeable future. Heath Hembree can't get lefties out, and both Tommy Layne and Robbie Ross Jr. struggle with righthanders.
That leaves Barnes as the high-leverage choice for the eighth inning. On Wednesday night, it also made him the choice for the sixth and seventh innings, too, and Barnes came through in a huge way.
Of course he can't be counted on to provide multiple innings all the time. But he will be trusted for the biggest outs before the ninth inning. He's earned that responsibility with the kind of season he's had and the progress he's made.