April 17, 2011
Looking over this scorecard, this is about as close as the Red Sox got to the team they were supposed to have to run away with the rest of the league.
Start down at the pitcher’s spot. Lester threw six strong innings. He was pulled as much for having a huge lead as for any struggles he was having. Bard came in, and put out the fire with a strong inning. The rest of the bullpen just mopped things up. Just the way it was drawn up before the game.
The line-up was stacked, and it showed. Even with the top two spots in the order doing absolutely nothing, the Sox put up eight runs. Just look at the second inning. That’s where the Sox pretty much won the game, and the only people who got hits were numbers 6-9 in the order. They all reached base, and all scored. That’s what you need if you want your team to succeed.
The hero of the game? It would be easy to go with Ellsbury and his three-run bomb from the nine spot. But, Saltalamacchia also had three RBI, and he spread them out a bit. So, I’m going to give him the nod for having more good at-bats.
The goat? Can I split it and give one horn each to Crawford and Pedroia? You can say that Crawford was more disappointing with that contract. But, Pedroia is the one with the MVP award on his shelf. In either case, having your top two hitters go 0-8 combined is not going to win you a lot of ballgames.
But, it did in this case. The pitching was everything they needed it to be, and the rest of the offense picked up the slack. The Sox cruised to a fairly ho-hum victory, which would happen a lot that season. Especially when the team was constructed the way it was on this day.
And the scorecard shows how it happened.