Game 27: May-be a good start to the month

David Ortiz continues to be a threat
in the clean-up spot for the Red Sox.
Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

Last night’s 9-7 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays ended a five-game win streak for the Boston Red Sox. It was also the first time this season the Red Sox lost the first game of series. They are 8-1 in that category and have won six of eight series to begin the season. Clay Buchholz will take the mound tonight to try and get the Sox back in the win column.

Without further ado, here is tonight’s lineup (first pitch - 7:07 pm EDT):

1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Gomes, LF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Ortiz, DH
5. Napoli, 1B
6. Nava, RF
7. Middlebrooks, 3B
8. Drew, SS
9. Ross, C

Buchholz, P

Toronto sends LHP Mark Buehrle to the bump to face the Red Sox. The former White Sox and Marlins pitcher is 1-1 with a 6.35 ERA this season.

May we have another?
Boston tied the franchise record for wins in the month of April with 18. Only two other Red Sox teams accomplished the feat: The 1998 and 2003 clubs. The Sox finished the month with the best record in MLB, 18-8 (.692). The most recent times that was done was 2004 and 2007. I don't think I need to remind you what took place in October of those seasons. They look for more of the same as they flip the calendar to May.

Buch-ing up
As good as Jon Lester has pitched (up until last night), Buchholz has been even better. He’s won every start (5-0) and pitched at least seven innings in every game. Buchholz has fanned 39 batters in 37.2 IP and sports a 1.19 ERA.

Going batty
David Ortiz carries a 21-game hitting streak into tonight’s contest. He’s batting .500 (.917 SLG) with three home runs and 15 RBIs in nine games this season. … Dustin Pedroia is quietly climbing the batting average ladder. He’s hitting .337 and continues to flash the leather in the field. Nothing new here. … Mike Carp and Jonny Gomes each hit their first home run in a Red Sox uniform in Tuesday’s game. Carp blasted a 2-out solo shot in the fourth. Gomes pinch-hit for Carp in the sixth and followed suit.

Pen problems
The Red Sox bullpen was billed as one of the strengths during Spring Training. This is not to knock the good things they’ve done, but there have been a few concerns already. Joel Hanrahan gave up another run in last night’s game. An 11.19 ERA is not exactly the stuff of a closer the Sox envisioned. Junichi Tazawa has looked outstanding early on, but gave up a mammoth two-run home run to Edward Encarnacion. That marked his second blown save and gave him his first loss. If the bullpen is going to be a strength, runs can’t keep coming across the plate.

I like to break down the marathon that is the 162-game schedule into 16 “mini-seasons”. There are 15 10-game seasons and one 12-game season. So far, the Red Sox have gone 6-4 and 7-3 through the first two seasons, and currently sit at 5-1 through the third. Keeping the pace of 6-7 wins per season, Boston is on pace for anywhere from 97-113 wins. The latter is highly unlikely, but a 97-win season would most certainly put Boston in the postseason. It also would likely mean an AL East division title. The mini-seasons are just another way to look at the MLB season and gives me (and you) a different perspective on how things are really going.

Let us know what you think about tonight’s game by commenting below.

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