The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Red Sox Recap April 29-May 4

Jon Lester had a career game May 3, striking out 15 Oakland A's while only
allowing one hit over eight frames (Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports)

Jan-Christian Sorensen Contributing Writer

The Red Sox might not have been able to struggle to that lofty .500 mark yet, but at least the Old Towne team managed to go 3-3 during the past week, and after finishing three of the first four weeks of the 2014 season with losing records, that’s at least a little progress.

But if Boston’s lumber doesn’t start heating up soon, this team will just keep on spinning its wheels — the Sox are only hitting .222 with runners in scoring position early in the year and in the past week left 50 ducks on the pond in six games while only going 14-for-59 with RISP.

Still, there were some good signs on life for the Sox — Clay Buchholz seemed to right the ship and pulled to 2-2 on the year, Jon Lester hit a new career high in strikeouts with 15 against the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics and Dustin Pedroia notched his 100th career home run in spectacular fashion, stroking a grand slam into the Monster seats to help salt away a big win for the Sox against the A’s.

Here’s a look back at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from Week Five:

Overall record: 15-17, tied for 3rd place in AL East
Past week: 3-3 (series loss to Tampa Bay; series win vs. Oakland)
Runs Scored: 28
Runs Allowed: 19
Team BA: .244 (11th in MLB)
Team ERA: 3.68 (13th in MLB)

Top 3 Defenders of the Nation:

1. Jon Lester, RP: Jon Lester made a strong case for the front office to grant him that multi-year contract extension on May 3 in a 6-3 win over Oakland as the lefty ace struck out 15, walked two and only gave up one hit during an eight-inning gem. Lester moved to 3-4 on the year and lowered his ERA to 2.59 and now has 58 Ks in 48.2 innings pitched this season — third-best in all of baseball. 

2. A.J. Pierzynski, C: Pierzynski’s pulse kept quickening over the past week as the love-him-or-hate-him-unless-he’s-wearing-your-colors catcher went 7-for-17 and hit .412 with a homer, three RBI and scored four runs in five games. He’s now hitting .371 over his last 10 games.

3. Shane Victorino, RF: He’s only been back for eight games, but the biggest Bob Marley fan on the Red Sox roster has been a boost for Boston of late. In the past week the Flyin’ Hawaiian hit .350 with three doubles and three RBI, including an April 29 hit parade in which he went 4-for-4 and drove in a pair against Tampa Bay.

Honourable Mention: Clay Buchholz, SP: The lanky righty got back in the good books of Red Sox Nation — at least temporarily — on May 2 when he tossed a 6.1-inning gem against Oakland, allowing only one run on three hits while striking out five to lower his ERA to 5.63 and picking up the win to move to 2-2 on the year.

Top 3 Offenders of the Nation:

1. Chris Capuano, RP: The Chris Capuano comeback project fell flat this week in a big way. In three games for the Sox, the lefty reliever was 0-1 with a 20.25 ERA in just 1.1 innings of work, giving up four runs on four hits and walking three while striking out none.

2. Edward Mujica, RP: The new addition to the Boston bullpen continued to sputter for the Sox in the past week, giving up two earned runs on four hits in just 1.2 IP over two games to jack his ERA to 10.00 over the last 10 days.

3. Will Middlebrooks, 3B: Will was no thrill during the past week, going 4-for-19 (.211) with seven strikeouts and only one extra-base hit.

Dishonourable mention: Jackie Bradley, Jr., CF: Despite the kid’s undeniable talent at running down balls in center, he had an anemic week at the plate, going 3-for-19 (.158) with six strikeouts. To be fair, the few hits he did have he made count — his three hits were all doubles and he drove in three runs while walking another three times.

High Point of the Week:

Dustin Pedroia celebrates with Jackie Bradley, Jr. after Pedey ripped a grand
slam into the Monster seats for his 100th career home run, giving the Sox a
6-1 lead over Oakland on May 2. (AP photo Charles Krupa)
TIE: May 2: On an 0-2 count with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth against Oakland, Dustin Pedroia rips a slider from Ryan Cook into the Monster seats to give the Red Sox a 6-1 lead and notch his 100th career home run. While the umpires had to briefly review the call, the Little Fella soon got his Centennial tater confirmed.

May 3: Jon Lester tosses a masterpiece in a 6-3 win over the A’s, striking out a career-high 15 and allowing only one hit in eight innings of work to move to 3-4 on the year and lower his ERA to 2.59. 

Low Point of the Week:

May 1: Normally lights-out closer and high-five aficionado Koji Uehara gives up a leadoff home run to Yunel Escobar in the ninth inning that eventually was the difference in a 6-5 loss to Tampa Bay during the second half of a day-night doubleheader.

Highlight Line of the Week:

May 3, Jon Lester, SP: 8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 15 K, 2 BB, 2.59 ERA, W (2-3).

Lowlight Line of the Week:

May 1, Felix Doubront, RP: 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 HR, 5.70 ERA.

Injury Updates:

Aside from an oblique injury that will unfortunately only keep Edward Mujica out of the bullpen for a day or two, it’s still clear sailing on the injury front aside from pitcher Steven Wright, who is recovering from sports hernia surgery and hit the 60-day Disabled List April 7.

On Tap This Week:

The Red Sox enjoy a light week with only five games scheduled over the next seven days. They host the 15-16 Cincinnati Reds for two games today and tomorrow before taking off on a six-game, eight-day road trip that begins with three weekend games against the 17-15 Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington starting Friday.

Keep the Faith. Drink the Dirty Water. Connect with me on Twitter: @jan_doh