Well we now know that the Boston Red Sox won’t match their 0-6 start from the 2011 season after rallying for a 4-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays last night.
The best part of the night though may not have been the rally. To me it was the collective effort of the pitching staff.
Felix Doubront made his first since the 2010 season and gave the Red Sox five serviceable innings. His pitch count was a little high at 101 but some of that may be attributed to the fact that the umpire wasn’t giving him the close pitches. He ended up allowing two runs on four hits and three walks while striking out a career-high six batters.
Given that Henderson Alvarez was keeping the Red Sox hitters at bay, you have to be happy with the way Doubront pitched. He showed why Bobby Valentine awarded him the fourth spot in the rotation. Other than having a little trouble at times finishing off hitters (despite the six strikeouts), he was attacking the strike zone and mixing up his pitches well.
Speaking of attacking the strike zone, that’s exactly what Scott Atchison did.
Just a day after Vicente Padilla threw four solid innings out of the pen, Atchison went three scoreless innings, throwing 23 of his 31 pitches went for strikes. He only allowed two hits during those three innings and was never in any trouble. If he continues to pitch like that, he might see himself throwing in some tight spots coming up.
Of course after the Red Sox rallied to take the lead and set up a save situation, everyone was left to wonder who Valentine would bring out to close out the game. Well Valentine didn’t waver at all with his trust in Alfredo Aceves and was rewarded with his first win as skipper of the Red Sox.
Aceves looked like the dominating pitcher he was last year out of the bullpen. He was commanding all of his pitches and mixed them up nicely as he spread them all around the strike zone. If he can replicate that success again and again, he’ll make his opening weekend struggles a thing of the past.
Aceves was given the chance to pick up the save because as I’ve stated above, the offense gave him that chance.
They weren’t really able to do much against Alvarez, who appears to have a bright future, as the only run they would get would come on Dustin Pedroia‘s first home run of 2012. Pedroia would also be a big part of the 9th inning rally.
The Jays traded for Sergio Santos hoping that he would help fix their bullpen. Instead, he blew another save opportunity.
Pedroia would start the rally in the 9th with a leadoff double and then head to third on a wild pitch. Adrian Gonzalez would bring him home with a sac fly to tie the game up at 2.
After Santos struck out Kevin Youkilis, who remains hitless on the season, he walked David Ortiz and Cody Ross. Darnell McDonald would come into pinch-run for Big Papi and he would come in to score on a Ryan Sweeney single with Ross ending up at third. With Jarrod Saltalamacchia at the plate, Santos uncorked his second wild pitch of the inning, this one allowing Ross to score and set up Aceves’ heroics in the 9th.
This Red Sox team definitely has a lot of heart. This is the second time this season that they have gotten to one of the better closers in the game. Now if the offense could just do something a little earlier in the game, they might not find themselves in that situation.
Still though, you have to be happy right now. Hopefully the nice comeback win from last night leads to something good tonight in Daniel Bard‘s first MLB start.
We’ll be back later on today with tonight’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.
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Cloud nine [Boston Globe]
Pedroia does job, and to the letter [Boston Globe]
Stretched out, Bard finally gets his start [Boston Globe]
Rally in 9th saves Sox [Boston Herald]
Fenway Park’s 100th birthday bash in works [Boston Herald]
Pedroia wows skipper [Boston Herald]
Leave Bard in rotation [Boston Herald]
Bobby V’s go-go Sox trying new strategy [Boston Herald]
Three stars from Red Sox’ first victory of 2012 [Clubhouse Insider]
Sox come back in 9th, this time hold on, 4-2 [CSN New England]
Doubront impresses in first start of season [CSN New England]
Third time’s a charm for Red Sox’ Aceves [CSN New England]
Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 2 [ESPN Boston]
Believe it: Ortiz was trying to steal [ESPN Boston]
Daniel Bard: ‘Right now, I’m a starter’ [Full Count]
It’s Boston who does the late rallying [Providence Journal]
Despite nagging bullpen questions, Bard focused on first start [Providence Journal]
Red Sox Journal: Valentine takes the heat on bullpen [Providence Journal]
Bard trying to get comfortable in new role [RedSox.com]
Pedroia serves as catalyst in Red Sox’s first win [RedSox.com]
Ortiz’s surprise sneak attack nearly worked [RedSox.com]
Atchison steps up with three scoreless innings [RedSox.com]
Aceves rewards Valentine’s trust with first save [RedSox.com]
Coming-of-age: Why now is the time for Daniel Bard to start [Alex Speier - WEEI.com]
Photo credit: AP Photo