Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gonzalez Powers Red Sox to 11-5 Victory in Texas

AP/LM Otero

Red Sox 11 Rangers 5
Winning Pitcher: John Lackey (12-9)
Losing Pitcher: Colby Lewis (11-9)

The Red Sox offense was able to break out on Tuesday night in Texas, behind the power of (perhaps undeserving) the MVP frontrunner, Adrian Gonzalez. Rangers' pitcher Colby Lewis wa coming into this game on a little bit of a hot streak, with his last three starts totaling out to 20.1 innings, allowing four runs over that span, with an 18/3 K/BB ratio. He stumbled in the this one early, however. In his first game since August 19th, Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single, and then stole second and moved to third on a Marco Scutaro sac bunt. After the at-bat, Ellsbury now has a .314/.370/.513 triple-slash line when leading off an inning. The next batter was Adrian Gonzalez, who crushed a homer to right to give the Sox an early 2-0 lead. It was his first long ball since July 30th. After Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Marco Scutaro each knocked in a run in the second, and Crawford and Lavarnway knocked in two more in the third, the Red Sox were sitting there with a 6-0 lead. In the next inning, Gonzalez made the gap between home run number 19 and 20 much shorter than the one between 18 and 19. In the fourth inning, Adrian Gonzalez blasted his second long ball of the day, this time to straightaway center field. It was Gonzalez's second multi-home run game of 2011, and his first since May 10th. 
John Lackey took the mound for the Red Sox, as he has been in this groove where, no matter how hard he tries to change this, he will last about 6 innings, and give up anywhere from 3 to 5 runs. Tuesday night was no different. For the sixth straight start, he has finished with basically the same numbers. On Tuesday, he ended up pitching 6.2 innings, allowing four runs on 7 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 5. He also gave up one home run, which happens to be the exact number he is averaging over his past five starts. Lackey's best pitch last night was his slider, which he threw 28 times (per Pitch FX), and finished the game with a -0.7970 Linear Weight, and he created four of his six swings and misses with the pitch. After the horrible start of the year from Lackey, we at least now know exactly what he's gonna give the team every time he is handed the ball to start a game.

The Red Sox and Rangers continue their series on Wednesday night at 7:00 PM ET. Boston will send Josh Beckett (10-5 2.46) to the mound against Texas' Matt Harrison (10-8 3.28).   

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