David Ortiz isn't the Red Sox' most compelling player for nothing, having a flair for the dramatic and a winning, engaging personality. Personality aside, ninth inning, game-tying homers attract attention.
The Sox have a bit of the Jekyll and Hyde hitting achievement, .370/,464/.834 at Fenway and .355/.452/.808 on the road, although it is the best OPS in the AL on the road. Kevin Millar's road performance was recently particularly highlighted, a rather anemic .315/.292/.607.
Jonathan Papelbon had better command of his stuff tonight, but still came away with a no-decision with 2 runs allowed in five innings. Thus far the bullpen hasn't been spectacular, as Timlin and Varitek elected to go upstairs on Maglio Ordonez after Ordonez missed a sinker (the theory being to change the hitter's eye level). The Big O promptly delivered a sac fly.
The Sox have plenty of pressing issues for the future. It looks as though the five spot is Papelbon's with Wade Miller on the shelf, and the closer position looks pretty shaky. "What's the difference between outspoken and obsequious?" Answer: "Three bad pitching performances." Curt Schilling had generally been getting the job done until recently, where his 'counter' pitches, particularly the splitter have deserted him.
Meanwhile, in the nether regions of 'farm land', Dustin Pedroia cracked two homers and had five RBI last night, while Mark Bellhorn continues to struggle. Craig Hansen has been solid at AA Portland, and Manny Delcarmen has returned to Pawtucket to get some needed work. Jon Lester didn't have it tonight, although Portland took the first game, and David Murphy continues to hit the ball after a forgettable start.
The Nation continues to struggle with the 'football mentality' of every game being life and death. Wins are viewed as 'expected' and losses all too often as either disasters or unnecessary. The saying goes that you win 60, you lose 60 and what happens in the other 42 determines your team. We expect to win 70 and lose 50 based on hitting, and pitching decides the rest.
Get well soon, Christopher Nixon.