|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
It appears that Jon Lester has sorted through the problems that plagued him through the early part of the season. The latest evidence came from last night’s start against the Orioles, which saw Lester toss seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts in a 4-0 win. Lester improved to 8-0 with a 2.18 ERA in 10 career starts against Baltimore.
Jason Bay made a beautiful sliding catch with two outs in the ninth inning to secure the save for Jonathan Papelbon, who tied Bob Stanley for the most career saves with the team (132). Papelbon is 19/20 in save opportunities with a 1.85 this season, and now 20/20 with a 0.39 ERA in his career against the Orioles.
Terry Francona shuffled the batting order again, sliding J.D. Drew to the leadoff spot and Dustin Pedroia to the No. 2 hole, and the experiment worked Monday night. The Sox churned out 11 hits and four runs despite playing without Mike Lowell again, who is suffering from a sore hip.
J.D. Drew, RF: The Sox right fielder finished 3-5 batting out of the leadoff spot, and hit a two-run shot that turned a 2-0 lead into a 4-0 lead. He finished with two runs and two RBI.
Jason Bay, LF: Despite his beautiful catch to the end the game, Bay didn’t do much. He finished 0-5 at the plate (one of just two hitless Sox batters; Nick Green was the other) with two strikeouts and three men left on base.
“Maybe their lineup just fits me for some reason, I don’t know,” Lester said of his dominance of the Orioles. “I don’t pitch any different against them than against any other team, but I’m just fortunate to get some runs early on and that’s the biggest thing.”
W: Jon Lester (7-6)
L: Jason Berken (1-5)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (19)