Home > Game Recaps, MLB > Red Sox Game 154 recap: One is the loneliest number

Red Sox Game 154 recap: One is the loneliest number

Highest WPA: John Lackey, .477 (9 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 8 K, HR, 1 ER)
Lowest WPA: Mike Napoli, -.103 (0-4, 2 K, 4 LOB)

Remember that semi-popular fan theory about how the Red Sox couldn’t beat good pitchers? You know, their approach – that of the offense, a monolith rather than a series of separate players who have never had major issues before – was to wear down bad pitchers, but they were worse than an average team when face with good starters?

Yeah, let’s add Chris Tillman (not an “ace,” but a very good starter on a possible playoff team) to September’s hit list. In 17 games this month, the Red Sox have given losses to Hiroki Kuroda, David Price, and Max Scherzer, two of whom are more likely than not to pitch in the postseason. One month is a small sample, but given that the theory was itself evidenced by only a tiny handful of games and predicated on the belief that, I don’t know, Greg Colbrunn was giving everyone roofies before they faced an ace, I’m gonna take those four defeats as the final word on this.

But hey, maybe I’m being premature here. Jim?

Yep, playoffs! Tonight’s win clinched a postseason berth for the Red Sox, even though they need one more victory (or Tampa Bay loss – they have series with Baltimore and New York coming up, so it’s not like they can expect half-assed efforts from eliminated clubs) to officially claim the Eastern Division title and dodge the Second Annual American League Coin-Flip Game For #4 Seed. At this point, scoreboard-watching may be more aimed at Detroit and Oakland, who were 3.5 and 3 games back as of Boston’s victory (as of this writing, the A’s are tied with Minnesota in the 4th, so let’s assume they win, because… Twins).

But lest I forgot the present: the Red Sox got a great outing tonight from John Lackey, who took a no-hitter into the seventh and threw a complete game on 113 pitches. Not to rob Tillman of respect, he was also very sharp tonight, but Boston’s three-run second was all they needed. Clearly responding to my criticism from yesterday’s recap, Jackie Bradley got a pair of hits (tonight, I’ll point out that Will Middlebrooks has been awful for a week [I’ll preemptively guess Goog’s comeback: “You misspelled ‘season.'”]), while Stephen Drew snapped out of a poor two-week stretch to get a homer and a triple.

The Blue Jays throw out Esmil Rogers tomorrow night, so I’m pretty confident the Sox wrap things up sooner rather than later. Let’s just hope the players continue to be more focused than I am and aren’t similarly distracted by the prospect of knocking the Orioles out of contention next weekend.

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