The Quick Recap
The red hot Red Sox swept the Kansas City Royals right out of Fenway Park with a 6-0 win, their fourth win in a row and seventh in their last eight games. David Ross blasted a two-run homer into the Monster Seats and Daniel Nava added two hits and three RBIs (nearly a quarter of his season total) while reaching base three times as the Sox battered Royals’ starter Yordano Ventura. Ventura gave up all six runs on nine hits to go with four walks in just 4.1 innings. Jon Lester’s impending price continued to go up thanks to another stellar outing (eight shutout innings, four hits and two walks allowed to go with eight strikeouts) as he improved to 10-7 on the year and has now amazingly allowed zero or one run in nine of 11 career starts against Kansas City. And Brock Holt, Baseball Cyborg, added yet another multi-hit game, his fourth in his last six games, and is now 14 for 28 during his current six-game hitting streak.
YAH KID, THE SAWX AH TURNIN IT ALL AROUND!!
Don Orsillo returned from a week-plus on vacation, re-joining Jerry Remy in the NESN booth, making the telecast feel like slipping into a pair of your favorite, most comfortable shoes. The duo engaged in their usual banter, with Remy remarking to his partner shortly after the game’s first pitch, “Hi I’m Jerry. I’ve heard good things about you.” There were a couple of familiar giggle fits, a discussion of the demise of heavyweight boxing with Remy doing a pretty solid impression of a worn out fighter trying to throw a right cross, some talk regarding Orsillo’s vacation, including some reminiscence of the time he went kayaking with Sox radio voice Joe Castiglione and found himself submerged in water as well as a some good-natured ribbing of the venerable Castiglione in regard to the time he tried to learn to speak Spanish. There was nothing terribly noteworthy about the broadcast except for how warmly familiar it all felt. The ease with which Remy and Orsillo do these games remains a treat for fans watching at home. Let’s hope the folks at NESN feel the same way.
— Red (@SurvivingGrady) July 20, 2014
Every Little Thing’s Gonna Be All Right
Victorino appeared in his second consecutive game since being activated from the disabled list in Saturday and again, showed no ill effects from the variety of injuries that have plagued him all year. He singled, doubled and scored a run in his four at-bats out of the six hole and moved fluidly in running down a couple of fly balls in right field. It remains to be seen how long Victorino, as fragile as anyone on the entire Sox roster, will hold up but Sox manager John Farrell said before the game that the plan as of now is for Victorino to play four out of every five games, with Monday’s opener of a four-game set against the Blue Jays in Toronto a scheduled day off. That plan may wind up altered somewhat initially, as it might not be the best idea for Victorino to play three straight days on the artificial surface at Rogers Centre, but regardless, the right fielder’s return from nearly two months on the shelf has indisputably provided the streaking Sox with a spark.
Cue the music.
As noted by Dave D’Onofrio on Sunday morning, this little run the Sox are currently on has been marked by different heroes on a daily basis and this game proved to be no exception. The offensive stars were Ross and Nava, the latter going 2-for-3 with three RBI, which constitutes nearly one quarter of his runs knocked in all season. What’s particularly noteworthy about these contributions from so many spots is that they are picking up the two regular members of the lineup usually counted on as the main sources of production, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz. The two combined for a meek 0 for 9 (though it should be pointed out that Pedroia drove in the game’s first run, albeit on a fielder’s choice from a botched double play ball) and together went 2 for 25 for the weekend. Pedroia’s defense at second base remains tremendous (the double play he and Stephen Drew turned in the eighth inning in which Drew fully laid out to stab a ball surely ticketed for center field was absolutely spectacular). But sooner or later he has to hit more, doesn’t he?
Both Pedroia’s descent into singles-hitter territory and Ortiz’s batting average and OPS decline have been well documented throughout the course of this year. And while it’s a bummer to have to bring up their woeful numbers of late just as the Sox seem to have figured something out as a team, the bottom line is that as nice as it is to get such important contributions up and down the rest of the lineup, this team will not be able to sustain any kind of momentum or potential postseason run unless both of its top guns get cracking.
Little Pedro? Nope.
Orsillo and Remy both noted that Ventura grew up idolizing former Sox star Pedro Martinez and has tried to pattern himself as a pitcher after him. Ventura throws fire, routinely topping out at 100-plus MPH and is even built a little bit like Pedro. But at least in this game, that’s where any similarities end.
The Sox laid off all of Ventura’s secondary stuff (note: if he really wants to be like Pedro, he’ll work all winter on his changeup, which to be kind, is a work in progress), preferring to sit on his fastball all day. The approach worked as the Sox lit him up for all six of their runs in the first three innings. Ventura is a rookie and only 23 years old and he sported a 3.22 ERA and 88 Ks in 103 innings headed into this unsightly start. He’s got plenty of time. Still, it’ll be a long road for him to travel to reach the heights of Pedro.
See what I mean?
Follow Jeremy on Twitter @jmg2776.