After entering the Alternate Reality of the 2010: Lost Season, the Sox overwhelmed the Rays and restored order to chaos. Meanwhile, what do the stats say.
1. Belted. What a difference a day makes for Adrian Beltre, who now sits in the top 20 in OPS in the AL, ahead of...Joe Mauer and A-Rod (sans PEDs). Twelve total bases last night didn't hurt AB.
2. Fielding Bible. The Red Sox chased the "run prevention" theme in the off-season, which sounded good, until it didn't work, at least for the first quarter of the season.
3. 8 Bawl. Daisuke Matsuzaka did the "who am I" thing tonight with EIGHT walks in less than five innings. Okay, so the umpires in MLB leave a lot to be desired (have they EVER been worse?) but even so, Matsuzaka needed a dog and a cane to find the zone.
4. Presto Chango.
5. Change we can believe in? As a former pitcher (yes, even made it into a Division I college game), I had a lot of interest in finding ways to get batters out. Without overwhelming stuff, pitchers need to rely on alternatives, like deception, control, changing speeds, working the strike zone, controlling the running game, and identifying hitters' weaknesses. I always wondered whether 'multiple' change ups had value. For example, some teach throwing the change by gripping the ball deeper in the hand, others favor the 'circle' change, where the index finger and thumb come together to make a circle, former Sox standout Bob Stanley threw the palm ball, and the knuckler can have value. Why is it that so few 'power pitchers' (e.g. Jonathan Papelbon) have an effective changeup? And, we should note that one of the best, Pedro Martinez, had one of the best changeups. Food for thought.