Playoff atmosphere. Damon demonized. Mirabelli returns, climbing out of a police cruiser in uniform to catch Wakefield.
Sox draw first blood symbolically, with Ortiz the architect with an RBI single and a smash against the wind into the Sox bullpen.
Wakefield battled Wang to a draw, and the Sox bullpen with Timlin and Papelbon outpaced the hated Yankees, with Mike Myers serving as double agent.
After the debacle in Tampa, the Sox rebounded with home cooking, warm bats, and cold weather, more typical of April than May.
Holding the potent New York lineup to just four hits was quite an achievement, especially after the Bombers put up a three-spot in the fourth.
Big plays. Aside from the Ortiz tater, the basestealing threat of Willie (Dave Roberts redux) Harris distracted Aaron Small enough to cause a Youkilis hit batsman. Loretta responded with a run-scoring single (once a game winning hit) before Ortiz put a Killebrewvian backspin shot into Papelbon's waiting glove.
Alex Cora was in the midst of two rallies, one with a bunt single and another drawing a walk. Cora also played solid shortstop to contribute mightily to the win. Inevitably, Cora is bound to encroach on Alex Gonzalez p.t. if Alex can't get a little more going with the stick.
Rude Awakening. The weekend in West Florida was capped negatively by yet another Scott Kazmir conquest of the Sox, and another Rudy Seanez failure out of the pen. On the depth chart, Seanez has to be close to the bottom rung, with consistent ineffectiveness. Craig Hansen can't get enough experience soon enough to help out. Timlin and Papelbon can't carry the entire load indefinitely.
Jon Lester (5 innings, 3 hits, two ER, 4 K) is obviously having more success with each appearance at Pawtucket as we can only hope that his maturity accelerates enough to move up after the break. We've all heard how the Sox are rationing his pitch count.
Kason Gabbard through six scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts in a Portland 5-0 win.
Andrew Dobies continues to pitch well at Wilmington, now allowing 19 hits in 28 innings, with an ERA of 2.25 and 15 strikeouts and 9 walks. The Sox put a premium on K/BB ratio as a measure of command and effectiveness. I like to look at H/IP ratio as a measure of 'dominance'. The best pitchers of all-time have low H/IP ratios.