Red Sox News & Notes – 4/27

Kevin Youkilis #20 of the Boston Red Sox connects on a grand slam scoring teammates David Ortiz #34, Adrian Gonzalez #28 and Ryan Sweeney #12 during the third inning against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on April 26, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.

Look out folks the Boston Red Sox offense is alive and well right now.

Last night the Red Sox were facing Chicago White Sox starter Philip Humber who by the way threw a perfect game in his last start. After one batter, Humber was no longer perfect as he walked Mike Aviles. Two batters later, the chance of a second straight no-hitter went by the wayside when Dustin Pedroia reached on an infield single.

Then a double by Adrian Gonzalez and a single by the white-hot David Ortiz gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead, a lead they would never look back on.

Kevin Youkilis started the season off slow at the plate and even with Will Middlebrooks tearing up Triple-A, there were no whispers about a change. And if there was going to be any talk, Youk’s made sure to keep it quiet. Over the past few games, Youk has been finding his swing and last night it culminated with a grand slam.

For Jarrod Saltalmacchia, it was a little different. He got off to basically the same start as Youk. But with Bobby Valentine being a Ryan Lavarnway guy and Lavarnway hitting pretty well in Triple-A, there were whispers a change could be made. But ever since Saturday’s game against the New York Yankees, Salty has been hitting the cover off the ball. He followed Youk’s grand tater with a solo home run.

Youk would finish the night with three hits to see his average go up to .241. Salty’s two hits raised his average to .261. With the exception of Lars Anderson, who was making his first MLB start in left field, everyone in the Red Sox starting nine had a hit.

Ryan Sweeney continues to thrive in the second spot in the lineup as he added two more hits and is now hitting a robust .383. Even by going 1-for-3, Big Papi sees his average at .420.

You have to wonder if Felix Doubront was wondering about having a big lead and coming out of the game. He was the pitcher of record on Saturday when the Red Sox held a 9-1 lead over the Yankees. He did his part by limiting the White Sox to just three runs over six innings of work to pick up his second straight quality start. But more importantly, despite it being a meaningless statistic, his first win of 2012.

A high pitch count in the 3rd inning probably cost him another inning. Most of that came from him losing a little bit of his mechanics. He was however able to adjust and settle back down.

Doubront throws a nasty sinking two-seam fastball. It happened to be his best pitch of the night. It also was his worst pitch at times. When he located it, he was on. When he couldn’t, like in the 3rd, he was off. But overall, another solid inning from Doubront. If he can just keep his pitch count down and get into the 7th inning, he’ll make things easier for Valentine in regards to going to the bullpen.

Speaking of the bullpen, obviously it’s been much maligned for the early part of this season. There’s been some bright spots at times and obviously some spots where we’d just like to forget what happened.

But what Junichi Tazawa did last night was nothing short of spectacular.

He came in for Doubront and pitched the final three innings of the game, allowing just two hits while striking out four to pick up his first career MLB save. He had great command of his fastball and his secondary pitches were outstanding. Because of that, he was able to keep the White Sox hitters at bay.

Hopefully Tazawa’s great outing rubs off on the other members of the bullpen who are struggling.

Things are definitely clicking for the Red Sox. The offense is on fire, the starting pitching has been decent and the bullpen is up and down. But last night, all three things came together and that’s what the Red Sox need more of.

The offense isn’t going to be able to do the job every night so it’ll be up to the starting pitching and bullpen to get the job done.

That’s just how baseball is.

We’ll be back later with today’s lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the day. So for now, let’s take at look at the overnight links from the media by clicking on the read more button below if you’re on the home page.

To open the links up in a new tab or window, use Control+click

Saltalamacchia, Red Sox catching fire [Boston Globe]

Worst case for Crawford is three more months [Boston Globe]

Not what Valentine envisioned [Boston Globe]

Pitching decision due [Boston Globe]

Red Sox batter Phil Humber [Boston Herald]

Bad news for Carl Crawford [Boston Herald]

Valentine and Ventura managing healthy respect [Boston Herald]

Carl Crawford a costly loss [Boston Herald]

Will Middlebrooks on way [Boston Herald]

PawSox trio on path to majors [Boston Herald]

How the Red Sox bullpen can survive without Daniel Bard [Rob Bradford - WEEI.com]

Red Sox crush White Sox, cruise to 10-3 win [CSN New England]

Doubront continues to keep Sox in games [CSN New England]

Bats carry Sox to fourth straight win [CSN New England]

Terry Francona ESPN New York podcast [ESPN Boston]

Rapid reaction: Red Sox 10, White Sox 3 [ESPN Boston]

Video: Bobby V says ‘Salty’s on fire’ [ESPN Boston]

Closing Time: Kevin Youkilis, Jarrod Saltalamacchia key Red Sox latest win [Full Count]

Mother Nature, White Sox were no match for Felix Doubront [Full Count]

Nuggetpalooza: Red hot stat nuggets for the Red (hot) Sox [Full Count]

Red Sox Outfielders Will Need To Carry the Torch As Carl Crawford Recovers From Latest Setback [NESN.com]

Jarrod Saltalamacchia Displays Power Surge, Puts Early Slump Behind Him [NESN.com]

Felix Doubront Is Key to Success of Red Sox Pitching Staff [NESN.com]

Saltalamacchia getting into rhythm at plate [RedSox.com]

Crawford has sprained ulnar collateral ligament [RedSox.com]

For more slices of Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, CSN New EnglandESPN Boston, NESN, Providence Journal, RedSox.com and WEEI websites.

And if you must check out the enemy news, be sure to head over to the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune and ESPN Chicago websites.

Follow Ian on Twitter @soxanddawgs. And be sure to like us on Facebook as well.

photo credit: Getty Images

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