Youth Is Served
The joyful parade of youth continued at Fenway Park Sunday afternoon, and the Red Sox beat the visiting Baltimore Orioles by a score of 3-2. Jacoby Ellsbury, starting in center to give Coco a rest, smacked two hits, including his first big league home run, and made two outstanding plays in centerfield. He dove headfirst to catch a ball hit to shallow center by Jay Payton in the fifth, and the Fenway Faithful went nuts with a standing ovation. A well deserved one, I must add. Two innings later, he wowed the crowd again by running down Ramon Hernandez' drive deep in the right centerfield triangle. Quite a game for the 24 year old. Mike Lowell had the other two RBIs, and Dustin Pedroia (AL Rookie of the Year!) had his usual two hits. His average stands at a robust .324. Please give me ONE reason why Dustin should NOT win that award!
Jon Lester, just back from his single start for Pawtucket on Monday, pitched 6 strong innings, giving up 2 runs and 6 hits. Javy Lopez, Okie and Paps did the rest with shutout ball for the last three innings. A textbook 2007 Red Sox victory.....six plus good innings from the starter and then the bullpen takes charge. And yesterday Tito (manager Terry Francona) said the reigns, which have kept Jonathon Papelbon's shoulder stronger than ever, are off. If he is needed for MORE than one inning, the green light is there. We all know green means a win, a victory, and Hideki Okajima, my Darkman, who in the past few days has experienced a little discomfort, is feeling JUST FINE!
Coupled with the Yankees 8-2 loss to the Devil Rays, the lead in the AL East is back to a comfortable 6 games. The pinstripers start a three game series with the slumping Mariners, while the Red Sox host the still tough Blue Jays for a three game set. Here are your pitching matchups.........
Jesse Litsch (5-6, 3.40 ERA) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (13-11, 3.88) tonight
Roy Halladay (14-6, 3.87) vs. Josh Beckett (16-6, 3.29) Tuesday
Shaun Marcum (12-5, 3.75) vs. Curt Schilling (8-6, 4.02) Wednesday
And Tim Wakefield will throw a side session to see if his back has improved enough for his Thursday start against the Orioles. If not, the O's, and ALL of us, will see a familiar smilng face....Clay Buchholz. Not a bad backup plan, I'd say.
Happy and healthy Labor Day, my Constant Readers, and click on the title of this post for a complete wrap of the Sunday Fenway sweetness. And thanks for being here. You make this all worthwhile in a huge way. Comments??