Boston did not just win those games; they dominated them.
As the teams make their way down to St. Petersburg for Game 3, and maybe Game 4, here are a few reasons that the Red Sox are on the verge of advancing to the American League Championship Series:
–Forget about Tampa right fielder Wil Myers miscue in Game 1. The rookie took all the ribbing from the Fenway Faithful and media in stride.
Instead, manager Joe Maddon should be more concerned with Myers going oh-for-nine at the plate with two strikeouts. His lack of offense is the bigger problem.
–Red Sox hitters have feasted on Tampa’s mistakes. On average through the first two games, Boston hitters are putting two runners on an inning.
–The patience at the plate by the Sox that was key in their run a decade ago has returned. At Fenway, they tagged starting pitchers Matt Moore and David Price for 14 runs—seven apiece.
–If you were worried about how the newcomers on the Red Sox would adjust to the playoff spotlight, relax. Every starting hitter has a base hit so far and David Ross is the only hitter not to drive in a run.
Ross does have a double and a run scored to his credit.
–As you well know, the last time Boston had a first-year manager make the postseason; they won the World Series.
In 2004, many wondered how unproven Terry Francona would match up with Los Angeles Angels mastermind Mike Scioscia. Many fans wondered privately this year how the unproven John Farrell would do against Maddon, also considered a guru of the game.
Nine years ago, Francona and the Red Sox swept the Angels in the ALDS, pulling the right strings.
Farrell sits on the precipice of doing the same thing.
In the first two games of the ALDS, Victorino is hitting .500, Pedroia turned two huge double plays down the stretch of Game 2 and Ortiz homered twice.
Did we mention Ortiz and Pedroia hitting .375?
–The bullpen goes to Tampa well rested.
The travel day ensures that Craig Breslow got a full rest day after his four-out performance Saturday and Koji Uehara can pitch both games at the Trop if needed.
If Clay Buchholz gives Boston anywhere from 18-21 outs, Farrell can use the combination of Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and Uehara without putting any extra stress on them to finish the job.
Farrell can also avoid having to use the shaky Felix Doubront in a situation that could further rattle his confidence.
*All statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference.
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