Extra Bases

Red Sox rolling as Yankees arrive

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Four games against the Angels. Four wins along with 36 runs, 53 hits (25 for extra bases) and 23 walks. Just what you expected after that three-game debacle in Baltimore, right?

The Sox are 15-14 and have won 11 of their last 16. That includes eight of the last 10 at home. If there is a good time to have the Yankees come to town, this may be it.

“We just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Dustin Pedroia said.

The Sox are five games behind the second-place Yankees. The idea is to win the series. You can’t make up for a lousy three weeks in three days. Get a game closer and move on.

A few postgame impressions:

* That Victor Martinez homered and doubled to the opposite field is the latest positive sign that his bat is starting to come around. He had hit lefties well but is still struggling against righthanders (.192/.263/.260). He’ll probably sit on Friday against Phil Hughes so Jason Varitek can catch Josh Beckett. Especially with a day game on Saturday.

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Marco Scutaro, who is tight with Victor, said they have talked at length about his slump. He thinks Martinez is about to go on a hot streak, as does Terry Francona.

“He works too hard and is too good a hitter. You’ll look up here pretty soon and you’ll be saying he’s even hotter,” the manager said.

* Daisuke Matsuzaka threw 39 pitches in the first inning then 49 over the next four. If you can figure him out, you’re smarter than I am. Of course you probably are anyway. The bottom line is this: He has put 18 runners on base in 10 innings and that’s unacceptable. Yes, it’s only his second start. But it’s going to be hold on tight every five days with him.

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* Ripping Francona is a more popular past time in Boston than driving through red lights. But you have to give him credit for how he has juggled the lineup and used his bench through 29 games.

Jeremy Hermida, Bill Hall and Darnell McDonald have provided enough production in center and left field to help the Sox stay afloat with Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury out. Francona stuck with J.D. Drew and Adrian Beltre and has gotten the bullpen rest after a few weeks of taxing use.

All things considered, that they are 15-14 after 29 games is almost impressive.

* I mentioned this on Twitter during the game. But it really does take watching Drew every day to appreciate his attributes as a player. The guy refuses to swing at a bad pitch, he makes the plays he’s supposed to make in the field and his personality doesn’t change much, win or lose.

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I can see how people might want him to throw his bat when he strikes out. But a lot of players who do that stuff are putting on an act. It’s a baseball game, not Othello. Players who can control their emotions and slow the game down are usually successful.

* I’ve long admired how the Angels go about their business and believe Mike Scioscia is the best manager in the American League. That said, they look awful. They have a free-swinging offense and pitchers who can’t throw strikes. But the AL West is forgiving. The Angels are 12-18 and 3.5 games out. If the Sox were 12-18, Theo Epstein would be chased through the streets of Brookline by an angry mob.

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Thanks for reading the blog today. Check back tomorrow and throughout the weekend. I’ll be live blogging all three Yankees games.

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