One down, 10 to go.
Jon Lester continued his recent success, giving the Boston Red Sox 7 2/3 strong innings and earning the first of what Red Sox Nation hopes is many wins this postseason. In beating the Tampa Bay Rays 12-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS, Boston not only showed it has the pitching to combat that of the Rays, but the bats busted out against ace Matt Moore. The 1-2 combo of Moore and David Price was expected to silence the Red Sox lineup.
We’re only one game in, and Price is pitching today, but 12 runs on 14 hits isn’t exactly what the Rays were hoping for and it’s precisely what the Sox needed to start the postseason.
John Lackey has been one of the most consistent pitchers in all of baseball despite his underwhelming 10-13 record. Lackey boasts a 3.52 ERA from the regular season, a far cry from his 6.41 mark two seasons ago – the year it was decided he needed Tommy John surgery.
Against Tampa Bay in his career, Lackey is 12-7 with a 4.39 ERA in 21 games. He’s even better at Fenway Park, with a 6-3 record and a staggering 2.47 ERA in 13 games.
Lackey wears his emotions on his sleeve. Expect those emotions to be running high today as he gets the start for Game 2.
“I’m going to be emotional. I’m going to be fired up.”
Here is the lineup for the Red Sox tonight (first pitch – 5:37 pm EDT; TV – TBS):
1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Victorino, RF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Ortiz, DH
5. Napoli, 1B
6. Gomes, LF
7. Middlebrooks, 3B
8. Drew, SS
9. Ross, C
Price has had plenty of success against Boston, particularly this season and in Fenway. Most notably, Price pitched back-to-back games in Boston and shut down the Sox in late July. In those two games, Price allowed two runs on seven hits with 12 strikeouts combined in 16 1/3 innings, including a complete game. However, Price did lose his most recent start against the Red Sox. He only gave up two runs on three hits in eight innings of a 2-0 Boston win.
Red Sox manager John Farrell had the perfect quote for left fielder Jonny Gomes:
“Today (Friday) was the reason Jonny chose to come to Boston. And he demonstrated why this is where he wants to play.”
Gomes sparked the Red Sox during a five-run fourth inning that ultimately led to Boston’s Game 1 win. He doubled in two runs, which tied the game and scored the go-ahead run by hustling around third on an infield single to first base by Stephen Drew. His energy and enthusiasm has been on display all season, but what he did in that fourth inning single-handedly lifted the Red Sox.
For only the third time ever in postseason baseball by any team, all nine Red Sox starters had at least one hit and one run in the game Friday. Boston totaled 14 hits and 12 runs in the route. The last team to accomplish the feat was the 1936 New York Yankees.
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