Monday, July 14, 2014
Red Sox End The Miserable First Portion of Their Season By Knocking Around the Astros
Time will tell if Boston (43-52 overall, 20-26 away) can gain any momentum in the second half (final 67 games) from taking four out of their last five contests heading into the All-Star break or it was just a result of playing the terrible White Sox and Astros (40-56 overall, 21-28) back-to-back? Houston's woes need no introduction as Clay Buchholz (complete game, 3 hits, 12 strikeouts, 0 walks; 1st Red Sox to strike out 12 w/no walks since Hideo Nomo in 2001) completely broke their sprit from the beginning en route to one of his best starts ever (obviously the no-hitter his rookie year trumps it).
The Red Sox cruised to an 11-0 victory at half-empty (if we're being generous) Minute Maid Park. It was the fifth career shutout for Buchholz and the 12 strikeouts set a new career-high.
With a few days off now, it was only right that Brock Holt (5 for 6 with 2 runs) had a career-day including a leadoff homer (his 3rd of the season) in front of his family (he's from Texas) and former college teammates at Rice. The immortal Brad Peacock (3-6) couldn't get three outs let alone two so he had the rare opportunity to be pulled after one out in the first for the Astros.
Dustin Pedroia (2 for 4), Daniel Nava (2 for 4 w/2 runs), Stephen Drew (2 for 4 w/run, walk) and Christian Vazquez (2 for 4 two RBIs and one run) all had multiple hits as well, Boston notched a season-high in runs and 16 hits as a team. Boston added two runs in the third on Jackie Bradley Jr.'s RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Xander Bogaerts (remember him?). Houston allowed two runs on the same play in the fifth: an infield single by Vazquez scored one run then on a throwing error by All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve.
Things started to get out of hand for the second time this weekend (in Boston's favor, they won two out of three) when the Red Sox pushed across two more runs in the seventh on Vazquez's sacrifice fly and a bases loaded walk by David Ortiz. Mike Carp had a pinch hit two-run triple because why not and the final run scored on Ortiz's groundout. Buchholz has looked way better recently since returning from the DL but I don't know how much you can take away from even a gem like that vs. Houston.
Not to plan the week ahead for you but the Home Run Derby is tomorrow night, the All-Star Game is on Tuesday and the 2014 ESPYs are on Wednesday hosted by Drake. MLB is off for the next four days so expect many lucky bastards to take exotic vacations. Boston returns with three games against Kansas City (48-46, 2nd in AL Central) next weekend at Fenway Park.
UPDATE 7/16: That bucket of crap A.J. Pierzynski was officially released today after nobody wanted to trade for him, shocking I know.