April 27, 2016

G21: Red Sox 9, Atlanta 4

Atlanta - 011 000 011 - 4  6  0
Red Sox - 240 200 01x - 9 11  1
The 2016 Red Sox have scored more runs in the first inning (28) than in any other frame, by far. The next most productive innings are the sixth (17 runs) and the third (15 runs).

On Wednesday night, Bud Norris could record only four outs (1.1-7-6-2-0, 48) before he was ordered to the showers, as Boston again struck early and often, winning their fourth consecutive game. David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez drove in runs in the first inning and Dustin Pedroia poked a grand slam off the right field foul pole in the second as the team batted around for the third time in two games. Pedroia added a solo shot in the eighth - which came one pitch after Atlanta catcher A.J. Pierzynski and third baseman Daniel Castro watched a two-out foul pop fall untouched between them - to finish the night with five RBI.

Ortiz doubled in each of his first three at-bats; the third two-bagger missed being a home run by less than one inch, as it hit the top of the center field fence just under the bottom of the yellow line on the Wall. Big Papi scored twice and drove in two runs. He now has 1,119 extra-base hits, which ties him with George Brett for 16th all-time. The next batter in his sights is Manny Ramirez (#15, 1,122). Ortiz also has 595 career doubles, good for 16th place all-time.

Steven Wright (7-3-2-3-8, 116) was solid once again, though the unpredictability of his knuckleball caused no end of grief for Ryan Hanigan behind the plate. Hanigan was charged with four passed balls, including three in the fourth inning. Wright - who has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 14 of his 15 career starts - lowered his team-leading ERA to 1.37.

With two outs in the bottom of the first, Xander Bogaerts scored from first base on Ortiz's double into the right field corner. Ramirez followed with a bloop single to center to give Boston a 2-0 lead. Ramirez then stole second base, giving the Red Sox 20 steals in 22 attempts this season.

Hanigan began the second inning with a single to left. Jackie Bradley walked and Mookie Betts singled to right, loading the bases. Pedroia then homered on a 1-0 pitch, his third career grand slam. Bogaerts grounded out and Ortiz doubled off the Wall - and that was the end of Norris's night. John Gant, who ended up pitching 4.2 innings of relief, kept things quiet until the fourth, when Bogaerts walked and scored on Ortiz's third double/near-home run to center. After Ramirez fanned, Travis Shaw hit the first triple of his career, which upped the score to 8-2.

NESN Note: Before the game started, NESN showed a graphic illustrating how the top three batters in the Red Sox order - Betts, Pedroia, and Bogaerts - had "set the table" during the five-game road trip. Yet in attempting to show how often those three hitters reached base, NESN did not use on-base percentage, but emphasized their batting averages. Despite the Red Sox's embrace of and reliance upon advanced metrics, NESN remains in the dark ages. Its continued use of fielding percentage to measure the strength of a team's defense is perhaps Exhibit A in that regard. Many baseball observers exposed the flaws in fielding percentage way back in the 1880s. NESN has yet to see the light.
Bud Norris / Steven Wright
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Shaw, 3B
Holt, LF
Hanigan, C
Bradley, CF
It would be great to start the series against the Yankees on Friday with the Red Sox (now 0.5 GB) in first place and the MFY in the cellar. There are two weekend series against the Yankees in the next two weeks: April 29, 30, and May 1 at Fenway, and May 6-8 in New York.


allan said...

Looking at some Jake Arrieta's stats:
Last 20 starts of 2015: 0.86 ERA
And 4 starts in 2016: 0.87 ERA

allan said...

Speaking of the 15-5 Cubs, they are off to their best start after 20 games since 1907, when they went 16-4!

allan said...

This Date:

1909 - The Chicago White Sox win their third straight 1-0 game over the St. Louis Browns in three days.

2002 - Derek Lowe of the Boston Red Sox, who struggled to keep his job as a closer the previous season, pitches a no-hitter against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Brent Abernathy is the only baserunner Lowe allows in Boston's 10-0 victory. ... Only 97 pitches for Lowe.

FenFan said...

What bums me every time I see a reference to Lowe's no-hitter is that I had tickets to that game and I GAVE them away (albeit as a birthday gift to a friend)

Jere said...

"What bums me every time I see a reference to Lowe's no-hitter is that I had tickets to that game and I GAVE them away (albeit as a birthday gift to a friend)"

I was there, but think of this way: at least you didn't get a stiff neck from sitting in the right field boxes craning your neck all game. And my gf at the time backed out last minute--not like she cares that much but she still was in your boat. I remember telling my buddy that I wanted to present Lowe with the unripped ticket I ended up with, and he was like, "What do you think he's gonna say? 'Here are two tickets to an upcoming game....and a THOUSAND DOLLARS'?" And my (whatever I have) won't let me mention that day without mentioning how we saw that girl barf after the game at the corner of Brookline and Overland. No-hitter hurl.

Oh, okay here's something to make you feel not so bad: In '86 my uncle let us know he had tickets to Fenway one night. Since it was a school night and we lived 2.5 hours away, my dad declined. Clemens struck out 20 that night.

allan said...

1996 - We go to (I think) the second MFY game of the year. It snows. So much snow I could not keep score. As a gift to the long-suffering fans, the team says we can trade in our ticket stubs for a future game: May 14. (I think it was the only choice.) We give the tickets away to a friend of Laura's who braved the snow with us. ... May 14 comes and Dwight Gooden throws a no-hitter.

allan said...

MFY lose 3-2!
The loss guaranteed the Yankees will finish April with a losing record for the first time since 2008.

NYDN: "The Yankees went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position, leaving them with a feeble .128 average (14-for-109) with RISP during their past 14 games. Not so coincidentally, they're 4-10 during that stretch."