Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ellsbury and Rest of Offense Get to Sabathia to Take Game 2

Sports Illustrated

Red Sox 10 Yankees 4
Winning Pitcher: John Lackey (10-8)
Losing Pitcher: CC Sabathia (16-6)

This just in: Jacoby Ellsbury is having a breakout 2011. Less than 24 hours after falling to the Yankees, and falling out of first place in the process, Ellsbury led the Red Sox offense back to a tie atop the AL East on Saturday afternoon. After flying out in his first at-bat, the Red Sox All Star center fielder came up in the third in a scoreless game with Carl Crawford on third and one out and came up with a sac fly to right field, giving the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. An inning later, with Boston up 4-2, Ellsbury came up again, this time with two men on base. Ellsbury sent one deep to right field for a three run shot, giving the Red Sox a commanding 7-2 lead that put the game out of reach early. The home run was his 19th of 2011, just one shy of his career total coming into Spring Training. Ellsbury has been showing a power surge all year long, but has been particularly hot as of late, as 10 of his 19 homers have come since the start of July. He tacked on two more runs for the Sox in the 8th, giving him a career high 6 RBI on the day. Prior to today, his season high in RBI had been three, which he has accomplished three times in 2011. The outburst put Ellsbury in the top ten in the American League in RBI.
On the other side of the ball, John Lackey continued to look decent as he has since interleague play in late June. He was cruising early, as he allowed only one walk and one hit in the first three innings. However, he was forced to throw fifty pitches in that span, and he was bound to implode at some point. Sure enough, he started getting a bit wild in the fourth, with his team up two. Curtis Granderson reached on a single, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia's throw to catch him stealing second was errant, and Granderson moved to third. This seemed to irk Lackey, and he loaded the bases by walking Mark Teixeira and hitting Robinson Cano. With the bases full of Yankees and nobody out, the Red Sox took the exchange of a double play ball from Nick Swisher for a run, and the lead was cut to one. One batter later, it was tied as Eric Chavez knotted it up with an RBI single of his own. Lackey allowed another run in the fifth, but the score was already 7-3 at that point, and he earned himself the win. He ended up lasting six solid innings, allowing three runs on six hits, two walks and five strikeouts. He tossed 115 pitches in the six innings (71 strikes; 62%), the most pitches he's thrown all year. He impressively induced eight whiffs from a variety of pitches, and he walked two or less batters for the eighth straight start.

Quick Hits
  • Carl Crawford had one of his better games in a Sox uniform. He got four hits for the fourth time this year, and crossed the plate three times, a feat he hasn't reached since July 11th, 2010.
  • David Ortiz was the only Red Sox starter to fail to reach base the whole game. He is now just 5 for his last 42 (.119 BA), and hasn't had a multi-hit game since July 26th. In the stretch, Ortiz's batting average has fallen from .310 to .286.
  • After he just snapped his 26 1/3 scoreless inning streak in his last appearance, Daniel Bard now has allowed four runs in his last 1 1/3 innings. This is why you don't look at a relief pitcher's ERA.

The Red Sox and Yankees finish up their three game series tomorrow night at 8:00 PM ET on ESPN. Boston will send Josh Beckett (9-4 2.20) to the mound against New York's Freddy Garcia (10-7 3.22).    

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