Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Stay On Target!

Target Field, at least.

I told you. The Sox just needed to stop playing playoff teams. Then, maybe their injuries wouldn’t hurt so much. That’s exactly what happened as they ended their skid.

The Sox got a great game from Cody Ross. Everyone said he had some pop in his bat. He looks to be a great mistake hitter. If you give him a fastball where he wants it, he’ll put it in the seats. Those are great hitters to have. But, they’re a bit susceptible to poor performances against good pitchers. Like the kind of pitchers playoff teams have. But, it was great to see him start the road trip with a great game.

I don’t know why Jon Lester can’t pitch in Minnesota. Sometimes that happens to a pitcher because a particular team is a bad match-up. Sometimes it’s a park that doesn’t play to their strengths. Sometimes it’s just the way it goes. Whatever the reason, Lester had a tough time last night. But, after one terrible inning, he pulled it together and really closed it out at the end.

I was impressed by the bullpen last night. When the single given up by Morales in the eighth was turned into a triple, it would have been easy to mail it in from there. “Here we go again.” But, he didn’t. He got Joe Mauer, of all people, to ground weakly to first base before leaving the game. That was a nice recovery. Bard did a great job coming in between starts. I’d prefer not to see line drives caught by a drawn-in infield. But, I’m not going to complain about a clean inning.

Just like I’m not going to complain about Aceves in the ninth. Sure, one of his outs was pretty loud. But, they all count the same. Really, every out is close to being a hit. I don’t discredit any other performance because of a nice play in the field. So, I’m not going to do it this time. Again, it was nice to see the long out not rattle Aceves. He could have dwelled on the potential bad instead of the actual good. He came right back and got the next guy. Game over.

It was a great start to the road trip, when they desperately needed one. I’m reminded that in 2004 there was a pretty bad defeat at home against the Yankees. The next day it rained. In the game they stormed from behind, and hit a home run off the Yankees closer. It started their run to the World Series. On Saturday, the Sox had a bad defeat against the Yankees. The next day it rained. In their next game they stormed back from behind including a home run off the closer.

Let’s hope the similarities don’t end there.

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