Today brought us a game of good news and bad news. Depending on further developments, the bad could heavily outweigh the good, but at least for now the opposite is true.
Let's start with the good news.
Felix Doubront was tremendous today against a fairly difficult lineup. Showing excellent command, Doubront was able to paint corners with his fastball and deceive with his offspeed stuff, earning bad hack after bad hack. He was more than capable against the likes of Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, making Cabrera look especially foolish at times. He threw two mistake pitches, and was punished each time with a homer, but was otherwise exceptional.
The Sox, meanwhile, had no such trouble with Doug Fister, keeping the ball off the ground (where Fister likes it) and scoring six times off of him in five innings of work.
Tigers fans may protest that not all of the runs were legitimate, and to some extent that is true. A foul tip off the bat of Mike Aviles should have gone for strike three and out three in the second, but after protest it was ruled to have hit the dirt, giving Aviles and the Sox new life. Aviles would single, Nava would double, and Pedroia would single, bringing three runs in to score when it could have been none.
The Sox would score a few more, with Jarrod Saltalamacchia going deep in the third and a couple more insurance runs being pushed across in the late innings, leaving the Sox up 7-2 going into the ninth.
To turn to the bad news, by that point Nick Punto was in the game at second base. That's bad news in its own right, normally, but the circumstance today made it especially bad, with Dustin Pedroia having jammed his thumb making an impressive diving play in the fifth, leaving the game between innings.
Other than that, the only real problem came in the ninth, when Alfredo Aceves, brought on perhaps to instill some confidence, gave up another two-run bomb. Suddenly the closer position is looking a lot less solid.
Still, if Dustin Pedroia comes out unscathed, then we can probably overlook Aceves for now. The rest of the bullpen has been lights out, after all, and there's plenty of depth in the minor leagues if a move has to be made. For now, we're back at .500, ready to try again (and in all likelihood be let down) tomorrow.