|Heeeere’s Jonny! Gomes Lifts Red Sox to Extra Inning Win over Twins||Connelly’s Top Ten: Bruins Keep Rolling||Middlebrooks Delivers in 9th as Sox Rally in Dramatic Fashion||2013 NHL Playoffs Expert Picks: Second Round|
Things are really different without Manny Ramirez. First, the Red Sox are actually winning again…and when they lose it feels like a moral triumph. Despite the piling victories since the trade, Terry Francona has had to juggle the lineup around without Ramirez to find what he likes. Slumps by Jacoby Ellsbury and Coco Crisp have affected the batting order tremendously, with J.D. Drew now hitting leadoff. Wait…did I just say Jacoby Ellsbury slump?
Ellsbury busted out in a big way in the final game, going 3-4 with a great defensive catch in CF and a three-run HR to put the game out of reach. He did all this batting out of the No. 7 spot. New leadoff hitter J.D. Drew (and his team-leading .408 OBP) went 2-4 in the final game with a walk and two RBI. Finally, the team has started scoring runs again.
And you were wondering when I was going to mention Jason Bay…well here’s a whole paragraph dedicated to him. Bay has been awesome since replacing Manny in LF at the trade deadline. Bay finished 2-5 Wednesday after a 4-5 game Tuesday, giving him a .429 batting average with the Sox in six games. With him, the Red Sox are now 5-1 (the one loss being a close 4-3 loss in the first game of this series).
It makes me sad to see Clay Buchholz struggling like this. Although he did look better against the Royals in the first game (6 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K), he took the loss and has been pretty bad since his return from the disabled list. Perhaps he’s still adjusting to the major leagues again or is unsure about the arm angle of his delivery, but one thing’s for certain: Buchholz needs a break. Bartolo Colon should be coming back soon, and expect him to take Clay’s spot in the rotation.