Usually, there's not much good to be found in missed starts. But after Friday night's win over the Blue Jays, it may be prudent to acknowledge an exception or two.
Between illness, a bone bruise, and a bad back, the Sox were down (at least) three players at various times in their series against the New York Yankees. Clay Buchholz had his start pushed back, Dustin Pedroia underwent an examination on his hurting knee, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia had some stomach issues, to put it nicely.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox went out after a three-and-a-half hour rain delay and swept the Yankees. It was worth the wait, but after a long night like that, there had to be plenty of very tired players. That's the sort of situation that can leave a team vulnerable.
But at least three players were reasonably well-rested, and in many ways that proved the difference for the Sox Friday. Clay Buchholz' six days of rest resulted in the best game the young pitcher had turned in in nearly a month. Buchholz found the zone when he had to, and showed an ability to put batters away be it with nasty curveballs that barely dipped into the zone, or by getting batters to go fishing for four swinging strikeouts. It wasn't quite no-hit stuff, but it was definitely the good Clay, as compared to the one Sox fans saw in the Oakland series.
All-in-all, Clay left after seven innings with only three hits and one earned run to his name. The only time he really saw any trouble was in the bottom of the fourth, when he allowed a ground ball single to Corey Patterson and a ringing double to Jose Bautista lead off the inning. Buchholz couldn't avoid a sacrifice fly, but did manage to strand Bautista at third thanks to two big strikeouts. It would have been hard to ask for much more.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia didn't prove all that impactful, but he did score the first run of the game in the third inning. More impressive was the man who drove him in: Dustin Pedroia. He wasn't crushing the ball like he did in 2008, but he did look like the young second baseman who was named rookie of the year in 2007. Pedroia made contact, drew a walk, and just played solid baseball, contributing to two of the Sox' five runs on the night.
The other major contributions came from the other men in the top third of the lineup. Jacoby Ellsbury continued his torrid streak, picking up his fourth straight multi-hit game and scoring three times while Adrian Gonzalez brought in a run a piece on a double play, single, and ground rule double.
Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon finished off the night on 29 pitches between them, and the Red Sox found themselves the winners, 5-1.
That's seven straight for Boston. Their five runs on the night representing the low scoring mark for the streak. They'll be gunning for number eight on Saturday with John Lackey on the mound against Brandon Morrow.