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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Every Thing Goes Boston's Way As They Leave Kansas City With A Series Win

I'm going to venture a prediction that all these things never happen again in the same Major League baseball contest: Darnell McDonald collected three hits (including a homer), Jason Varitek hit a triple, Ryan Lavarnway had two hits and Carl Crawford hit a homer.

The reason that we watch a Red Sox-Royals game in late August is that crazy stuff like that can all transpire in the span of nine innings.

Boston (77-49) beat Kansas City (52-76) 6-1 this afternoon at Kaufmann Stadium, taking the series 3-1 thanks to Jon Lester's brilliance and all the aforementioned unlikely events.

Lester (13-6) posted his second straight excellent outing. He went six innings, allowing one earned run on three hits with four walks and three strikeouts. A pitch count of 113 with runners on first and second and no outs forced Terry Francona's hand but Daniel Bard (2 scoreless innings, 3 strikeouts) responded like the best set-up man in baseball (him) usually does.

A subplot worth filing away is the fact that Dan Wheeler is suddenly more effective than Matt Albers. That means that Wheeler should be used in more important situations than he has been all season. The former Rays reliever and Warwick, RI native pitched a scoreless ninth today with two strikeouts. Albers seems to have remembered who he was lately (a middling reliever that had only played on bad teams) so it's nice insurance to have a battle-tested veteran like Wheeler.

Royals starter Danny Duffy (3-8) actually had a very nice outing but like a true Royal, he didn't come out on top. In six innings, he allowed two earned runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts.

No Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis for the second straight game wasn't as big a deal. Varitek gave Boston a 1-0 lead with his RBI triple in the fifth, scoring Jed Lowrie. McDonald added a solo shot (his fifth of the season) in the sixth and Crawford (eighth of the season) showed signs of life with a solo shot of his own in the eighth.

Mike Moustakas hit an RBI single for Kansas City in the seventh-one of only three hits for the home team-but the Red Sox piled on three more in the eighth. Adrian Gonzalez had an RBI single, Lowrie hit a sacrifice fly and Lavarnway just missed his first career homer (it hit off the top of the wall) but settled for an RBI double.

From here, things start to get real for Boston (still a half game behind New York in the AL East) as they face the Texas Rangers four times in hot as hell Arlington. Erik Bedard goes up against C.J. Wilson tomorrow night in the series opener. The only times these teams met in 2011 was to start the season and that did not go so well from my slanted opinion (three-game sweep for the Rangers). A lock in the AL West, Texas will visit Fenway three times Labor Day weekend.

It could be a playoff preview if the Red Sox don't take care of the AL East division crown. Texas is way better than Detroit or Cleveland and even a slight notch over the Yankees since they have a solid rotation, great bullpen and good lineup. I'll take the AL Central shitbums please.

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