In what was an unconventional playoff game, the Boston Red Sox eliminated the Tampa Bay Rays by a final score of 3-1 in Tampa. Boston joins the Los Angeles Dodgers as 2 of the 4 teams to make it to the next round of the postseason. For Boston this is the first time they made it to the ALCS since 2008 and for the Dodgers its the first time they have moved on to the NLCS since 2009.
What makes this Red Sox victory so unconventional? Perhaps the fact that Rays skipper Joe Maddon used 9 pitchers in this game, setting a postseason record for most pitchers used in one game. This was no extra inning game either, this was your regular 9 inning affair. It was known that Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson would get a short leash. Hellickson threw a perfect 1st inning but in the 2nd he gave up a hit and walked 2 men with no outs leading to his exit. From there Maddon had put together an interesting carousel of pitchers including starter Matt Moore.
Boston starter Jake Peavy went 5 2/3 innings giving up 5 hits, 1 earned run and striking out 3. He did his job and the bullpen did theirs, including a wonderful performance by Craig Breslow who many Red Sox players say he was the game MVP for keeping the Sox in a close game having been down by 1. Red Sox turned in a small rally in the 7th and get the go ahead run off a wild pitch from Joel Peralta. Tazawa and Sox closer Uehara threw brilliantly as they have done all year to seal a spot in the ALCS for the Boston Red Sox.
There are a few notable things in this series. Boston took 8 walks and gave up zero in game 4 of the ALDS. The bullpen was excellent. Shane Victorino was hit 4 times tying a postseason record. Jacoby Ellsbury went 9 for 18 including 4 stolen bases and David Ortiz went 5 for 13 and clubbed 2 home runs. All the means to fend off a hungry Tampa Bay Rays ball club.
The Boston Red Sox will meet the winner of Fridays game 5 winner between the Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers.
Every team needs a hug once and a while, right? A series of breakups followed the 2012 season for the Texas Rangers which include Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Mike Adams, and Koji Uehara. While their hitting still remains pretty potent and good, it wont be the quite the same as a few years past. Texas will need to rely more on their pitching this season and to me, their starting pitching is like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall. Okay, it’s not that bad but it has some loose ends. So maybe a late signing of Kyle Lohse wouldn’t be such a bad idea? It’s been reported that Martin Perez had been stuck by a line drive that fractured his left forearm. He wont be able to resume throwing for the next 4 weeks. Here’s how their rotation shakes out.
The obvious number one here is Yu Darvish. Followed by Matt Harrison and Derek Holland who try to repeat past successes. Even though the Rangers lost bullpen arms in Adams and Uehara to free agency, they plan to make Alexi Ogando a number four starter. Alexi has been successful in the past as a starter but really only has two fantastic pitches in his hard fastball and hard slider. He has thrown a changeup in the past, just not that often. Can he harness it this spring? I’d love to see him stick in the pen . Don’t forget Texas still has Colby Lewis who won’t be back until around mid-May recovering from a torn flexor tendon.
Now who will round out their rotation? Now with Perez out, possible in house candidates are Robbie Ross, Justin Grimm, and spring training invitee Kyle McClellan. To me this just isn’t enough. Not if the boys in blue want to keep up with the much improved Los Angeles Angels and the young scrappy Division winning, Oakland Athletics.
Enter Kyle Lohse, who patiently waits by the phone for some team to call. He had a career year last year pitching to the tune of a 16-3 record, a 2.86 ERA, 143 K’s and only walking 38 in 211 innings with the Cardinals. If the Rangers can even sign him to a 1 or 2 year deal, chalk it up as a win. A veteran presence like Kyle’s will boast a thin starting pitching staff. An opportunity like this doesn’t just fall in your lap.
Kyle Lohse will have a better year than Ryan Dempster.
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