Whenever Justin Verlander takes the mound for the Detroit Tigers, it’s an event. He’s so good that in any given start, he could possibly throw a no-hitter. Fortunately for the Boston Red Sox, that wasn’t the case on Wednesday night in their 6-3 win.
And it was the bat of Daniel Nava that was the big difference in that win.
Nava came up in the 4th inning with the bases loaded and Verlander throwing gas on the mound. He had worked the count to 3-1 and then swung and missed at a 99 MPH heater. Nava then made an adjustment and was able to connect on Verlander’s 100 MPH fastball for a bases clearing double that would give the Red Sox a 4-0 lead at the time.
And yes, this is the same Nava who wasn’t invited to big league camp in spring training and wasn’t even on Bobby Valentine’s radar. But since being called up, Nava is hitting .276 with two home runs and 15 RBIs. But more importantly, he’s getting on base in almost 50% of his plate appearances (.429 OBP).
Considering all of the injuries the Red Sox outfield has gone through this season, it’s nice to see Nava get another chance and contribute. When everyone gets healthy, it might be hard to find him some playing time. It’s also quite possible that the Red Sox could use him in a trade given that he’s proven he can handle things at the big league level.
David Ortiz had a nice night at the plate going 3-for-4 with two RBIs. He had two doubles against Verlander and then had a solo home run against Duane Below. Scott Podsednik got the start in center last night and added two hits.
The Red Sox offense was without Dustin Pedroia, who is battling a torn muscle in his thumb. It’s not known yet whether he’ll go on the disabled list but if he does, he’d likely miss 3-4 weeks.
Daniel Bard got the start in this one and was a little better than he had been in previous outings. While he only lasted 5.1 innings this time around, which was good enough to pick up his fifth win of the season, his walks total was much better. He only ended up walking two batters and struck out four.
He was able to get the strikeouts by finally finding an out pitch, his slider.
It’s hard to say whether or not the Bard as a starter experiment is a success. He’s had his struggles but he’s also had some bright moments. If he can put it all together, good things can happen. Hopefully he takes the positives from this start and works on them before he gets the ball next time.
For the Red Sox, it’s the first time with a winning record in 2012 as they now stand at 25-24 and are just 3.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the AL East. They are also a half game behind the Toronto Blue Jays and a game behind the New York Yankees.
We’ll be back later on today 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.
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Notch above [Boston Globe]
Pedroia’s thumb injury poses a real dilemma [Boston Globe]
Crawford still at arm’s length [Boston Globe]
Daniel Nava’s double sends Sox over .500 [Boston Herald]
Dustin Pedroia wants back in [Boston Herald]
Umps make good call [Boston Herald]
Time to sit Dustin Pedroia down [Boston Herald]
Daniel Bard wins again, wants to shed kid gloves [Boston Herald]
What to make of the Dustin Pedroia predicament [Rob Bradford – WEEI.com]
Red Sox get over .500 mark for first time, beat Tigers, 6-3 [CSN New England]
Nava wins game-changing duel with Verlander [CSN New England]
Bard solid in Sox win, wants to pitch deeper into games [CSN New England]
Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 6, Tigers 3 [ESPN Boston]
Pedroia has muscle tear in thumb [ESPN Boston]
Podcast: Encouraging signs for Red Sox [Extra Bases]
Just in time: Sox finally boast winning record [RedSox.com]
Pedroia has torn adductor muscle in thumb [RedSox.com]
East beasts: All teams above .500 [RedSox.com]
Battling illness, Saltalamacchia exits [RedSox.com]
At Fenway, a case for expansion of replay [RedSox.com]
Return delivery: Why Red Sox want to see more of this Daniel Bard [Alex Speier – WEEI.com]
photo credit: Getty Images