* – Over the last three games, the Red Sox have faced three of the best starting pitchers in the game in Felix Hernandez, Jered Weaver, and Dan Haren. And they won all three games. Against the starters, the Red Sox went 21-for-81 (.259) with four doubles and one home run. Once the starters left the game, the Sox battered the bullpens to the tune of 10-for-24 (.417) with three doubles, a triple, and three home runs.
* – Last night, Jon Lester was brilliant again. Here’s what was working for him:
Curveball: Lester threw 13 curves, 10 for strikes, and the Angels went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. He averaged +1.69 points per pitch overall with his curve including a whopping +2.00 vs. righthanded batters (11 curves). His curveball YTD average vs. RHB entering last night: +0.17. Masterful.
Fastball: I’m combining his two-seam and four-seam here as he was “on” with both, averaging +1.25 points per pitch on the 59 fastballs thrown, leading to 2-for-17 with nine strikeouts. The +1.25 mark was easily his best fastball average of the season, eclipsing the +0.95 average he put up in the 1-0 loss in Cleveland on April 7.
Change: Lester threw only four changeups, but all four were strikes, getting two outs while allowing one single.
* – The Red Sox homered three times on Tuesday night. It was the third time this season that they’ve hit three in a game. They have yet to hit more than three in a single contest. Last season, they hit three or more 24 times.
Note this: All three homers came in the 8th inning (Gonzalez, Ortiz, Scutaro), marking the first time that the Red Sox have hit three home runs in an inning since last August 13, when Ortiz, Beltre, and Drew all homered in the 4th inning in Texas.
And this: Since the start of the 2008 season, every team has had at least one instance where they have homered three or more times in an inning except the Mets and the Royals.
And this too: Boston, San Diego, and Atlanta are the only teams that have not allowed a three-HR inning since the start of the 2008 season. Kudos to anyone that remembers the last time the Red Sox allowed three homers in an inning: July 30, 2006 at Fenway against the Angels, Curt Schilling allowed 3rd inning home runs to Orlando Cabrera, Vlad Guerrero, and Juan Rivera.
Finally: The Angels (for the time being) are the only team that has allowed a three-HR inning in each of the last four seasons. The Royals, Twins, Brewers, and Blue Jays have given one (or more) up in each of the last three years, but none in 2011… yet.
* – David Ortiz homered for the second straight game on Tuesday, the third time in 2011 that a Red Sox’ has done it in consecutive games (Ortiz, Ellsbury). No Red Sox player has homered in a third straight (in a single season) since Jason Bay’s four-game streak in September, 2009. The club record streak is five games, done by five different players: Jose Canseco (1995), George Scott (1977), Dick Stuart (1963), Ted Williams (1957), and Jimmie Foxx (1940).
* – The Red Sox forced Jered Weaver into 38 pitches in the fifth inning on Monday, highlighted by the epic, 13-pitch, masterpiece offered up by Dustin Pedroia. Not only had Weaver not thrown that many pitches in any inning this season, his previous high was just 27. The 38 pitches tied his highest inning since 2008 (664 innings pitched in that span).
Note this: Weaver has now thrown more than 20 pitches in eight different innings this year and THREE of those came Monday.
* – Red Sox had three consecutive extra base hits in the 7th inning on Monday. It was the first time this season that they’ve done it. The last time they pulled it off at Fenway was last June 11 vs. Jamie Moyer and the Phillies. The interesting thing about that one? They had FOUR straight in the first inning, then turned around and did it AGAIN in the second inning!
They also had three straight EBH in four other games in 2010, three of them on the road.
* – The Angels went 7-for-11 against Clay Buchholz’ four-seam fastball Monday night, and 1-for-15 against everything else. For the season, Buchholz’ four-seamer has averaged -0.18 quality points per pitch, third worst in the majors (min. 200 four-seamers thrown):
-0.37 – Kyle Davies, KC
-0.34 – Jhoulys Chacin, COL
-0.18 – Clay Buchholz, BOS
Note this: From the start of the season through April 20, Buchholz’ -0.44 quality points per pitch against right-handed batters (eight walks vs. only three strikeouts) was the worst in the majors among right-handed pitchers (min. 150 pitches to RHB):
-0.44 – Clay Buchholz, BOS
-0.05 – Kyle Davies, KC
-0.03 – Brad Penny, DET
In his last two starts, he’s found a bit of a groove against righties, putting up a +0.55 with 6 strikeouts vs. only one walk.
* – Boston had lost the last 11 times that they’ve allowed 13 or more hits in a game before Monday’s win. The last time they won such a game prior to that was last June 24 in Colorado… another Dustin Pedroia special where he went 5-for-5 and homered three times, including the 8th and 10th innings.
* – Here are the results of Angels’ reliever Francisco Rodriguez’ first 19 pitches in the 8th inning of Monday’s game:
11 called balls, including one ball four (-25 points)
4 strikes, either called, swinging, or fouls (+8 points)
1 batted ball out (+4 points)
3 extra-base hits: 2 doubles and a HR (-31 points)
Average quality points per pitch: -2.32
* – So far in 2011 (through Monday night), Adrian Gonzalez is hitting .472 (20-for-42) in the first three innings, is 1-for-22 in innings four and five, and .280 (14-for-50) after the fifth inning.
* – Angels’ number three hitter Howie Kendrick collected two hits in Monday’s game. Why is that interesting? Because the Red Sox had held opposing #3 hitters to a .177 average entering the game. Kendrick’s hits raised the mark to .188, still easily the best/lowest in the AL. Opposing third spot hitters have just one home run, a .250 slugging percentage, and a .516 OPS against Boston, all AL bests.
* – The Orioles’ pitching staff has fallen behind 3-and-0 on 41 batters this season, and 34 of them have ended up taking a walk. Two of the other seven ended up hitting a homer.
* – Twins pitchers have hit three batters with 0-and-2 pitches already this season. They hit only four batters on 0-2 counts during all of last season.