The Red Sox welcomed the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California, USA, Planet Earth for a three game series at Fenway Park. David Wells, coming off his victory over the Yankees wasn't as sharp, giving up 4 runs in 7 innings, including a Chone Figgins home run.
Meanwhile, the Sox struggled against Kelvim Escobar, who had a nasty change up working for 6 innings. However, the Sox dope-slapped Brendan Donnelly and Scott Shields for 6 runs in two innings, highlighted by a three-run double by Johnny Damon in the eighth to supply the margin of victory.
Mike Myers got the victory in relief with a Perils of Pauline 8th, and Keith Foulke got the save, despite three singles allowed in the 9th, stranding the bases by striking out Steve Finley with hard stuff up and in after working the lefthander down and away. A great call by Varitek and great execution on that pitch by Foulke.
The Sox had only seven hits on the night and didn't hit the ball hard for most of the evening. Bill Mueller had two hits and two walks and Mark Bellhorn had a hit and two walks. Bellhorn has his strikeout percentage down to a shade over 26 percent (down from 28 percent) and the Sox have 6 hitters with a walk percentage of at least 12% and four with at least 14.6%.
The Sox moved to within two games of the Orioles, losers to Detroit 4-2.
Safe at Third? The Sox completed the first third of their season today, with the major issues being relatively mediocre team defense, and struggling pitching. The Sox are 12th in ERA, 7th in K/BB ratio (usually a good predictor for ERA), and 10th in WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched). The Sox are 11th in both starting and relief ERA (4.78, 4.81 respectively) and 6th in K/BB as starters and 12th as relievers. They are 13th in OPS allowed, and 14th out of the bullpen.
Minor league action. The Sea Dogs pounded New Britain 10-2, behind 5 innings without an earned run from lefty Jon Lester (3-1, 2.98) who had 6 strikeouts and only one walk. Lester has been outstanding lately. Brandon Moss raised his average to .276 with 2 hits and 3 runs scored, and Chad Durbin had two hits raising his average to .308. The Sea Dogs have been getting excellent starting pitching from Lester, Jon Papelbon, and David Pauley. Manny Delcarmen (4-3, 3.68) has also been more effective recently out of the bullpen.
At Pawtucket, Richmond hammered the PawSox 9-4. Justin Sherrod had 2 homers for the Sox and Chip Ambres add another.
Wilmington was rained out.
In the local kid update, right-handed pitcher Eric Drown remains in extended spring training with the Cardinals after undergoing shoulder surgery last fall. Drown pitched at the University of Connecticut before signing as a free agent with the Cards. He pitched most of last season with the Peoria Chiefs of the Midwest League, before being shut down with shoulder problems.