After a big weekend thrashing at the hands of the Jays, Sox fans enjoyed a plucking of the Orioles, highlighted by a pair of homers by Jason Bay, who had four RBI and a stolen base.
Jon Lester raised his record to 12-4 while lowering his eighth place ERA in the AL to 3.18 with seven innings of one-run ball. Manny Delcarmen helped bring the Orioles back with 8th inning inconsistency, with a pair of two out walks leading to an Orioles comeback to 4-3.
Sox fans are frustrated by the inconsistency day-to-day, with erratic pitching ranging from the bullpen, and recent struggles from the back end of the starting rotation.
The constants have been Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis, the latter the Red Sox MVP this season so far, and the former largely a model of consistency for the past few months. David Ortiz seems to be gathering himself down the stretch, with his post-All-Star game splits showing improving OPS. And Jed Lowrie has shown himself to be a worthy replacement both offensively and defensively, ranking in the top 10 percent of all MLB shortstops defensively.
At the other end of the scale, Jason Varitek broke out of his slump with a long homerun tonight, as he works through the season-long struggle at the plate and personal issues going into his contract stretch drive. Jacoby Ellsbury continues to struggle with the hard stuff inside, and he'll need to keep trying to downsize that hole in his game.