21 April 2005

BOS 8, BAL 0

WP- David Wells (2-2)
LP- Bruce Chen (1-1)
HR- J. Varitek (4)

David Wells had the best start by a Sox pitcher this season thus far, and in battling with zeroes with Bruce Chen for the first 5 innings, gave the Sox the opportunity to grind it out against the Baltimore lefty having a Faustian start to the season.

This start sort of proves something I was contending after his last one- the one in which he threw seven scoreless innings instead of eight. I mentioned that, while it may seem like he had "rebounded" against an offense poor team like Tampa Bay, that his performance that night was good enough for him to get by against a great lineup.

Well, he had even better stuff this time around, and he did get by a great lineup- doing it in an absolute bandbox at Camden Yards. His only real threat came in the 6th inning- the only inning, consequently, that the O's took Wells deep into counts. Matos lead off the inning with a soft single, and after walking Brian Roberts on a full count- his second walk issued all season- with runners on first and second he got Mora to strike out for the second out and Tejada to ground out to Renteria.

The rest of his work consisted of cruising around two singles- Sosa and Lopez- and barely breaking a sweat (figuratively, of course). He burned only 109 pitches in those 8 innings, striking out 5, walking 1 and surrendering no earned runs on 3 hits.

Meanwhile, held down all game long by Chen, the Sox started to wear him down in the fifth. Loading the bases and facing Edgar Renteria, Chen balked home the first run of the game- at the time, it felt like a huge breakthrough, though he got out of the inning without "surrendering" any runs.

But the next inning, after Manny smoked a 2B (he's SO locked in right now- 2-for-2 with 2 BBs tonight) and Millar was HBP, Chen left a changeup on the fat part of the outer third, and Varitek took it right back to left-center field for a HUGE 3-R HR. Leading at the time 4-0, with Wells pitching as well as he was, it seemed a lock. It more or less was. Ramirez, Bellhorn, Mueller and Damon added RBI late against what seemed like trial-by-fire time for some Oriole relievers late in a blowout. John Parrish was really struggling to throw strikes, but in the interest of "seein' what ya got," he was left in to surrender the "blow it open" runs.

Just an all-around dominant performance. Renteria- despite some great games at home- still doesn't look right at the plate right now. Ortiz is slumping a bit, and that'll change, but Chopper seems to be sort of lost. Of course, what the fuck do I know about it? It's also nice to see Jay Payton, a guy that can hit consistently, in there against LHP for Trot. I loved Kapler, but this is a serious upgrade. That being said, how many pitches has Payton seen this year, 5? 6? He's gotta take a couple here and there, right? Was it in the G-Tech water?

Clement against Rodrigo Lopez tomorrow. Rodrigo has looked dominating again this year, and has often given Boston fits in his career. Let's hope Trot has a nice 2 HR game, and Clement avoids the BBs and throws some strikes. This could be a huge start for Matt.

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