The Red Sox blew the Blue Jays out Tuesday night, putting up 14 runs the night after being shut out, and repaying the favor to Toronto in turn behind Jon Lester and Kyle Weiland.
The bulk of the offense came early for the Sox, with four runs coming across in the first highlighted by doubles from Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford. Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez scored again in the second, with Kevin Youkilis doubling the latter home, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia unloaded a two-run shot in the third to make it 8-0.
Perhaps the best performance of the night belonged to Marco Scutaro, who went 4-for-5 with three doubles and a walk, matching David Ortiz' four hits as the primary contributors to the 20 the Sox put up in total. Josh Reddick would hit the only other home run of the night, golfing a 1-2 pitch from Dustin McGowan, the only Jays pitcher to really find any real consistency through the first eight, though even he would be tagged with three runs in his four innings of work.
Lost in all this was a tremendous performance from Jon Lester, who--on a night when fears over Josh Beckett's ankle were put to rest--showed that the Sox have as good of a 1-2 combination as anyone else in the game. Lester fired off seven scoreless innings, allowing just four baserunners and striking out 11 batters on a remarkably economical 100 pitches. His cut fastball was nigh unhittable, with one in every four going for a swinging strike.
The night was finished off by Kyle Weiland, who fired off two scoreless frames despite being expected to pitch Saturday in place of Erik Bedard. We'll see how that develops as the weekend draws closer.
The Sox seem to have these sort of statement wins when they're at their lowest points, but they don't always mean lasting success. Just as they'll fire off 14 runs after being shut out, they can be held to just a couple of hits the day after putting up 20. We'll just have to hope this isn't one of those situations.
Three For The Road
The Best Sprain Ever
When has a sprain ever been greeted with such unanimous positivity? Josh Beckett's ankle injury has turned out to be exactly what the Sox initially thought it was, and for that we can all be thankful. No tendon damage, nothing structurally amiss. Chances are it means a couple weeks rest, and then he can get ready for the playoffs with a couple late September games.
Lester The Underrated
If you had to guess, is Jon Lester having a down year? That feeling still seems to linger these days, if not strongly, thanks to having his bad months come a bit later, instead of in April. Jon Lester's ERA is a wonderfully low 2.93 after Tuesday's game, and he's been striking out more than a batter an inning since returning from the disabled list in late July.
Reddick On The Way Back?
Josh Reddick is off to a hot start in September after a miserable August. Going 4-for-4 a few days back, Reddick's homer today in a pinch hit appearance gives him seven hits in fifteen at bats. Perhaps more importantly, he's only struck out the one time. If the outfielder can show the ability to adjust to the adjustments the league's pitchers have made in order to get him out, that's always a major step for a young player.
Red Sox MVP -- Marco Scutaro
The Sox put him sixth today, and while they could have done it without him, Marco Scutaro made sure to reward the team's faith. Four hits, three doubles, and a team-high four RBI should help remind Sox fans that, while the Venezuelan shortstop was not all he was in 2009, he's been pretty solid for the team
Up Next -- Wednesday, 7:07 p.m. | Tim Wakefield (6-6, 4.95 ERA) vs. Brandon Morrow (9-10, 4.78 ERA)
If only Wake could have been pitching today! The knuckleballer will go for his 200th win yet again on Wednesday, squaring off against a struggling young Brandon Morrow whose reverse splits against lefties could be his saving grace.