David Ortiz did everything he could: picked up three hits, drove in the team's only run, and, yes, even stole a base! But it just wasn't enough, as the Braves downed the Red Sox, 6-1.
For the most part, Ortiz was the team's only offense on the day, if only because the balls weren't really finding the ground. Only J.D. Drew and Dustin Pedroia struck out, and the team sent ten men to the basepaths, but they just didn't come at the right time, or fell just short. Like when Daniel Nava's bases loaded opportunity ended with a loud fly ball out that fell a few feet short of a grand slam.
It wasn't luck, however, that got the Braves most of their runs. After David Ortiz had given the Sox their first run and an early lead in the opening inning, John Lackey gave up a loud home run to Alex Gonzalez. Hideki Okajima, Kyle Weiland, and Scott Atchison kept the game relatively close. And then Alex Wilson came in, and things fell apart.
Alex Wilson's career has really hit a bump in the road since he was bumped up to face the harder competition in Portland last year. The Sox' second round pick of 2008 (a draft which is currently looking quite underwhelming indeed), the closer in starter's clothing has struggled with control half the time, and the long ball whenever he's not walking guys. Today, the issue was the former. Wilson allowed a leadoff single, and then three straight walks.By the time the inning was over, three more runs had scored.
The Sox have one more game before they make their way onto TV for the first time this year against the Yankees on Friday. They'll get warmed up against the other World Series favorites tomorrow as they take on the Phillies.
David Ortiz: It's not April yet, but David Ortiz is doing enough damage that he might silence his critics in advance. And hey, it's not everyday Big Papi steals second standing.
Hideki Okajima: Give the man his due, he recovered very nicely with a clean inning and a pair of strikeouts. No surprise that it came against an NL team and guys who haven't seen him much, though. If there's one place Oki can really thrive again, it's in the National League.
Nate Spears: A trend is emerging. Give Nate Spears two at bats, and he'll give you a hit. Not really knowing what to do with his third plate appearance of the day, Spears shrugged and took a walk. He's also played left field to go with first, second, and third base so far this spring.
Kyle Weiland: Yeah, he gave up three hits and a run, but two of those hits were grounders, and he struck out three guys with a lot of swings-and-misses in two innings. That's worth something.
John Lackey: Lackey looks to be in good shape, but that didn't keep the Braves from knocking him around. Two line drives and a homer are not what you're looking for in just two innings.
Alex Wilson: Wilson just could do no right today, and needs to figure something out this coming year if he wants to avoid sliding down in the organization.