A few thoughts from 18 innings and a three-hour rain delay:
1. The Closer: We said here for a while that Andrew Bailey has to prove himself over a full season as a closer. So far, he hasn’t. Teammates can talk about “picking each other up” but nothing can tear down a team quicker than a closer who can’t close out games. Bailey allowed a solo shot to Kelly Johnson to tie it in the ninth spoiling Felix Doubront’s splendid eight innings in one of his best performances as a Red Sox.
Why didn’t John Farrell let Doubront finish with 93 pitches through eight?
“Yeah, there was some thought of that, particularly knowing that (James) Loney’s going to come up in that inning. He handled everyone in that lineup well tonight. But that’s Andrew’s job. Felix more than did his work and an outstanding effort on his part tonight,” Farrell said.
But Farrell emphasized afterward about Bailey: “He’s our closer. We’ve got some work to do. It’s the same pitch that he’s been beat on with the long ball the last two times out and we’ve got to get him more consistent, no doubt. But he’s our closer.”
Shouldn’t he say “For now?”
“He’s been beaten on the fastball up,” Farrell explained. “Hitters are going to go in and look up with him. And right now there’s not that second gear that we’ve seen with his fastball, where he’s beaten a number of hitters with some velocity up in the strike zone, they’ve taken a number of borderline breaking pitches. So two things, one is to get the fastball own and be a little bit more consistent with his secondary pitch to get them off just looking hard all the time in the at-bat.”
2. Clay Buchholz: On the 15-day DL. Farrell didn’t think they could get him ready for a Saturday in Detroit. Buchholz would have to do a bullpen session and evidently there isn’t enough time so perhaps next Tuesday? He can come off the DL on Monday [off day] after being backdated to June 9.
So the Sox go into Detroit without Buchholz and with a still shaky Jon Lester.
3. Alfredo Aceves: He was really almost late for a start because of traffic? Huh? How can you cut it that close anyway? Nevertheless, Aceves pitched well — five innings, one run and it’s adios back to Pawtucket. Maybe this is the best way to get the most out of Aceves. Maybe he likes Pawtucket.
4. Jarrod Saltalamacchia He started both games of a doubleheader, catching all 18 innings because David Ross suffered concussion symptoms again and had to be placed on the seven-day concussion DL. The Sox weren’t able to get Ryan Lavarnway up for the start of the game (though he made it during the game). Salty was the first Red Sox catcher to start both ends since the late John Marzano caught 22 innings on August 14, 1992 which included a 13-inning first game…
5. The old reverse stats: Jonny Gomes batted in the ninth in a situation normally reserved for Mike Carp, who sat out both ends to rest cramps in his hamstring. Carp was available to hit, but Joel Peralta has held lefthanders to .175 average coming in and .176 to righties. So Farrell figured, what’s the difference? Gomes batted and won the game.
6. Speed: Thought it was exciting to see back-to-back triples by Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino in Game 1. The more you see Victorino the more you see what a good player he is.
7. Daniel Nava: He homered in the second inning of the second game and also drew a key walk against Peralta ahead of Gomes’ homer. Nava also started at first base.
8. Jose Iglesias: The rookie has hit in 18 straight games. Could he break Joe DiMaggio’s record? Of his 40 hits, 13 are infield hits including the one in Game 2.
9. Rays phenom Wil Myers: The much-hyped outfielder made his major league debut and collected his first major league hit in his fifth career at-bat in Game 2, a single to left in the second inning.
10. Quote of the night: “Two people in this league who aren’t going to struggle this year – one is the MVP and the other is the Cy Young winner. Everyone else is going to got through peaks and valleys.” — Jonny Gomes on Andrew Bailey’s struggles.