Yet, like Red at Surviving Grady, the frustration is not sticking. I watch the boneheaded baserunning, the rally-ending GIDPs and strikeouts, the bullpen meltdowns and I get pissed, but the anger passes much quicker than usual. However, it is not even May yet. We'll see how long this pseudo-honeymoon lasts.
David Wells struggled -- allowing the team's first first-inning run of the season, then giving away Boston's brief lead with two more runs in the second and three in the fourth. He left the game in the fourth with what was termed a "sprained foot." Tony Massarotti of the Herald hints that this might be part of an ongoing condition, noting that "there have been rumblings about Wells having some sort of foot ailment since spring training." ... In the seventh, Matt Mantei twisted his ankle while backing up third base, but x-rays showed no structural damage.
Continuing with the injury theme, both the Globe and Herald notebooks catalogue Kevin Millar's HBP bruises. One account says "his right leg is black and blue, knee to ankle," while the other describes it as "an ugly, yellow, red and purple bruise from his right knee to his lower calf ... the seam mark from the baseball was visible." Ouch.
Bill Mueller remains too sick to start, but he did pinch-hit in the ninth inning. Wade Miller will pitch Thursday for Pawtucket; his scheduled rehab start last weekend with Portland was rained out.
If you've been thinking the Sox have been burned a lot by opposing #9 hitters, you're right. According to statistician Chuck Waseleski, the ninth spot had the highest batting average (.355), on-base percentage (.420), slugging percentage (.597), and most home runs (4) of any spot in the lineup against the Sox. Geronimo Gil, batting at the bottom of the Orioles' order last night, went 0-for-4.
With three singles last night, Johnny Damon now has four consecutive multi-hit games (11-for-17) and has hit safely in 16 of his last 18 games. He isn't hitting the middle innings, however:
The Red Sox have added the AL East standings to the scoreboard on The Wall. On the days the Yankees have been tied with the Devil Rays for last place, the two cities have been listed alphabetically, as they are in the newspaper, so New York is above Tampa Bay. I was hoping the Sox would go ahead and put the Yankees below the Rays because it looks better -- and is still accurate. Last night, they did!
Innings 1-3 .361 (13-for-36)
Innings 4-6 .095 ( 2-for-21)
Innings 7-9 .583 (14-for-24)
Matt Clement / Rodrigo Lopez at 7:00.