McAdam: What we learned in Red Sox' 8-3 win over Rockies
'What we learned': Red Sox' 8-3 win over Rockies
By Sean McAdam
Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox' 8-3 win over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night. . .
1) The Red Sox have been expert at getting the jump on teams
In 45 games, the Sox have scored 49 first-inning runs and have scored multiple runs in the first on 18 different occasions -- or more than once every three games.
For the season, they're hitting .361 in the first inning with 27 extra- base hits.
They've outscored opponents by a better than 2-to-1 margin (49-24) in the first inning. And it's not just the first inning, either. They've also easily outscored opponents in the second (36-24) and third, too (37-29).
"Their preparation, their understanding of what their daily routine is,'' said John Farrell when asked to explain the early-in-game explosions by his team's offense. "They come ready to play every single night. They come ready to play every single night. They're ready every single night when that first pitch is thrown.''
Beyond the early advantage that provide on the scoreboard, it also accomplishes two other things: makes life easier for their starters, and makes it more likely that the Sox will get into the middle- and long-relief of opponents.
For their own starters, there's plenty of breathing room, giving the pitchers the ability to attack and throw strikes right from the first or second innings. There's no need to be too fine or feeling they have to throw the perfect pitch.
Meanwhile, when the Sox pile up runs early, they also, by definition, pile up pitch counts for the other side, making it far more likely that they'll be facing the middle relief that is often the weakest part of the opponents' pitching staffs.
2) David Ortiz is averaging exactly an RBI per game
Ortiz has appeared in 41 games - though he's only started 39 of those -- and knocked in 41 runs.
Even for Ortiz, that seems a pace he can't maintain for the season. But just the fact that he's managed to do so slightly past the one-quarter mark in the schedule is amazing enough. At 40, Ortiz leads the American League in RBI.
"He's been outstanding,'' marveled manager John Farrell. "We're privy to everything that goes on before a game and the work that he puts in, so to see it play out this consistently, yeah, you wonder how long it can continue. But he's in such a great stretch right now, it's fun to watch.''
Ortiz has always enjoyed a reputation as a clutch hitter, but this season, he's taken that to a new level. He's hitting .421 (16-for-38) with runners in scoring position this season. Over his last two games alone, Ortiz has seven RBI on five different run-scoring hits.
His career-best in RBI was in 2005 when he knocked in 148. Should Ortiz remain healthy all season and avoid lengthy slumps, he would seem to be in position to challenge that number at a time when offense is down considerably from 11 seasons ago.
And, of course, he'd be doing it in this, his final season.
3) David Price is determined to finish stronger than he has of late
Price gave the Red Sox seven innings in improving to 7-1, but lamented the fact that he hasn't regularly been getting into the eighth. In fact, in 10 starts this season, Price has gotten into the eighth just twice.
But what bothers Price even more is that he's been prone to allowing late-game runs. Last week in Kansas City, he gave up a run in the eight. Tuesday night, he was tagged for a solo run in the seventh.
"I still want to be able to finish games better than I have,'' Price said. "The last couple of games, it's been a run (allowed) in the seventh or eighth inning and I want to be able to stop that and leave that game with a good taste in my mouth.''
That speaks to Price's expectations for himself and his high standards. Having fixed his mechanical issues a few weeks ago, Price is now seeking to find ways to improve.
That's what top pitchers expect of themselves.