Jon Lester & The 'Pen Shine As The Red Sox Roll...Boston 5 Philly 2 (13)
My bullpen versus your bullpen. Who's going to win? The Boston Red Sox 'pen, almost every time. They have just about the best bullpen in all of MLB and yesterday they showed everyone just how good they can be...without Jonathon Papelbon, too, who had a night off. Boston beat Philadelphia 5-2 in thirteen innings. Jon Lester started the game and was simply superb for the first seven innings. He gave up a lone run and just two hits, retiring 17 of the final 18 batters and, incredibly, striking out 10 of the last 12. To say his stuff was wicked is the understatement of the year. Here's what he had to say...
"The fastball away has really helped me," Lester said of his recent hot streak. "Guys can't sit on one pitch in one location. You want to be able to move the ball inside, outside, up and down so they have to focus on both sides of the plate. We were able to spread the plate on guys."
Okajima pitched a two strikeout scoreless eighth and the Sox clung to a 2-1 advantage going into the bottom of the ninth. Ramon Ramirez was in there with a chance to earn the save but he couldn't. Ryan Howard smashed a mammoth home run to the deep right centerfield seats to knot the score at two.
It was on to extra innings and the Boston 'pen took command. Justin Masterson and Takashi Saito combined for three scoreboard goose eggs and in the top of the thirteenth, the Boston offense struck for three runs, the big hit a bases loaded single by newly returned Jaboby Ellsbury. Going in to the bottom of the thirteenth, it was 5-2 Good Guys and young Daniel Bard was summoned from the 'pen for the save. And he got the job done, allowing two men on but eventually striking out the side on fastballs reaching 99 MPH and a devastating in-the-dirt slider. He said this after the game...
“There was a lot of adrenaline, but I’ve closed games before,” Bard said. “Not at this level or against that caliber of hitter, and you could see I was leaving my fastball up with just a little extra adrenaline. Fortunately enough, I calmed down, threw my breaking ball for strikes, and it was enough to get me through.”
Bard is the real deal and will be a huge help to the club.The Yankees held two games behind us with an improbable win over the Mets on a dropped easy popout. Who cares when the Sox win, and they took their fourth in a row, again against a first place team. They'll try to do it all over again with Matsuzaka ready to face Bastardo tonight, same time, same channels. Enjoy your Saturday and as always, BE WELL. Click on this post's title for more on the Sox and thank you for stopping by. See you...soon.