All's not Wells

Source: AP
A David Ortiz bases clearing double set the stage for the Red Sox's 8-4 victory yesterday.
OK, you've got me. I really didn't think the Red Sox would be able to pull out a win against Scott Kazmir, especially with homer-friendly David Wells on the mound for the good guys.

But, to prove me wrong - like always - the Sox got to Kazmir and were able to take the second game of the series, 8-4.

And Wells actually looked like the Wells of old - until he hit the ground. Hard. He took a Travis Lee line drive off his right knee - his injured knee - and soon after tasted the green grass of the Fenway infield. It had to hurt, because a little pain wouldn't make a big man like that make horrifying facial expressions.

Wells got up, barely, and was escorted off the field. It was just our luck, too: we're facing a great Southpaw in Kazmir, and our pitcher, who had only allowed one run to that point (a solo home run by Carl Crawford), was putting together a great comeback outing, but then we were left hanging.

No need to fear, however, because Big Papi swings a big stick. In the bottom of the fifth, the bases became loaded after Kevin Youkilis walked, letting Kazmir face Ortiz. With two outs, Ortiz connected with Kazmir's first pitch, resulting in an off-the-wall double, scoring all three runners. It was 3-1, and the Sox continued to go to work.

In the sixth, Mike Lowell deposited his seventh home run of the season into the Monster seats, scoring Jason Varitek who was on-base. The 5-1 lead was enough for the Sox, as they were able to hold off the D-Rays for the 8-4 win.

Ortiz was huge in the victory. He went 2-for-5 with four runs batted in, and one has to wonder: is the slump over? For the Sox to keep on winning, Ortiz needs to be back in form, or the lack of production will catch up on us. A double off the wall and a single through the shift is a good way to beat a slump, though.

Lowell continues to impress me, and everyone else, I believe. He had another 3-for-4 night, boosting his batting average up to a `nifty' .333. And, of course, he upped his league-leading doubles total to 22. He's on pace for 81 doubles; easily the most in a season for any player ever.

Guess who else swung a hot stick? Alex Gonzalez. Mr. 200 himself. Gonzalez also had a three-hit night, which included two runs scored. And this may shock you, but in the month of May, Gonzalez is hitting .276 with a .737 OPS. Compare that to April, when he hit .186 with a .518 OPS.

There are other upsides to Gonzalez: he's hitting .309 at Fenway in 55 at-bats, and against left-handed pitchers he's hitting .318, in 44 at-bats. It's not the greatest stats for the sample size, but at least there are positives to look at.

Let me shock your mind for a minute. You thought those Gonzalez stats were great? Listen to this. With Rudy Seanez's 1.2 scoreless inning last night, Seanez has lowered his ERA to 5.30. But that's not the best part. In May, Seanez has a 1.93 ERA and hasn't allowed an earned run since May 4 against Toronto. His season WHIP is 1.55, but in May he's at a low 1.18. He has reduced the amount of walks while also minimizing hits.

I think we really need to see what Seanez is capable of every day. Give him the ball, and let's see if he can handle it. He has the ability to be a great relief pitcher - he was a great relief pitcher last year - so I think we need to see what he can do in any situation.

One last note, Jonathan Papelbon earned his 17th save of the season. It may have been the easiest save (just 0.1 IP in relief of Seanez), but a save is a save and he's been amazing in the closer's role. With the save, he set a record for consecutive saves by a rookie, knocking Gregg Olson's 1989 season with Baltimore off the map.


FanGraphs.com

Check out the win probability for the game. Like expected, David Ortiz's double is what changed the game. Mike Lowell's home run basically set the game in stone at that point.

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