Home > Game Recaps, MLB > Red Sox Game 41 recap: Situational hitting is not predictive

Red Sox Game 41 recap: Situational hitting is not predictive

Highest WPA: Will Middlebrooks, .680 (1-3, BB, 2B, 3 RBI)
Lowest WPA: Clay Mortensen, -.221 (1/3 IP, H, 2 BB, ER)

So can we officially bury the two-week “this team is no good, April was a fluke” fears? Or at least the thought that somehow, their struggles with runners in scoring position are due to some failing of skill and character, rather than dumb luck? To be sure, a 4-3 win is nothing special, but while the Red Sox looked punchless for eight innings, the resurgent Will Middlebrooks (.300/.300/.700 in 20 PA coming into tonight) delivered one of the biggest hits of the year.

Earlier in the evening, Felix Doubront did not make it easy for me to defend his value; he did his usual walk-y, nibbly thing, this time dealing with Joe West’s erratic strike zone as well as his own poor command. He went five innings on 104 pitches (only 50 of them balls!), only allowing one of his nine baserunners to score; that can’t be just luck, can it? (It probably is.) I don’t know where Ben Cherington can find a decent starting pitcher with the second wildcard spot keeping so many teams invested in the present season, but it’d be nice to see him manage that. Instead, I assume we’ll be trading the farm for Bobby Parnell.

Then, we got to see Clay Mortensen battle with even worse control AND arguably the worst defensive catcher in baseball. It was pretty clear that that performance would be the worst pitching of the night… and then Fernando Rodney walked in. Or should I say, Fernando Rodney walked the bases loaded. He sandwiched a couple of strikeouts among the free passes, and took Middlebrooks to a 1-2 count before leaving a changeup just a bit too high. The three-run double was a win expectancy swing of nearly 72%, and Junichi Tazawa stayed in for his second inning to finish the win. If there’s such a thing as momentum… well, the ugly start to May has to be a footnote now, right?

More importantly, and more likely to matter: the Sox and Clay Buchholz face the Twins and Vance Worley tomorrow.

“REAL MEN DON’T NEED NO SISSY DL” WATCH: Shane Victorino is 1-14 (with a double) since a wall collision that would have him on the DL if he wasn’t such a tough, gritty guy and good teammate making sure Mike Carp and Daniel Nava don’t have to play in his place and outhit him.

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