Shivering Sox take second game from Yankees, stay atop AL East
The good times keep coming for the Red Sox as they improved to 2-0 on the 2013 season thanks to a 7-4 win over the Yankees on Wednesday night. The 2-0 start is Boston’s best start since 1999.
While manager John Farrell has been riddled with questions as to how the Sox will do in 2013 and there are still 160 games left to play, the two quick wins make it seem as if the revamped Red Sox could flourish under Farrell. Whatever the reason for the early success, it sure is nice to see the Red Sox in first place, as they have not led the division since 2011.
Focusing on Wednesday’s game only, the Sox looked pretty dominant. Here’s what worked (and some things the team could work on) in the second win of the season.
Clay Buchholz threw seven innings in his start, giving up one run while striking out four. The Yankees have never been kind to Buchholz and he had an especially difficult time with them last season, going 0-2 with a 15.26 ERA. But Buchholz showed last year is in the past as he was in command the entire game, giving the Sox a chance to get a quick lead and hold it the entire game.
The young guys, Jose Iglesias and Jackie Bradley Jr., did very well with Bradley Jr. going 1-for-4 and Iglesias going 2-for-4 Wednesday night. Both also made several nice defensive plays in the field, including another catch by Bradley Jr. deep in the outfield that robbed the Yankees of what likely would have been an RBI double.
Newly acquired reliever Joel Hanrahan notched his first save, tossing a clean ninth to ensure the Sox victory. Hanrahan featured a sharp slider and hit 97 mph on the radar gun with his fastball, a speed that should give Farrell plenty of confidence in his closer.
Reliever Alfredo Aceves gave up three runs in his appearance Wednesday night. Given his troublesome history off the field with the Sox and his struggles on the mound last season (he finished the year with a 5.36 ERA), his issues Wednesday are concerning.
Will Middlebrooks struggled again at the plate for the second game in a row. He went 0-for-4, but he did make good contact a few times and flew out to the warning track. Still, he has not found that elusive first hit of the season.
Reliever Andrew Miller had control issues, hitting a batter and giving up a run in his 1/3 of an inning. Miller struggled to find the plate in the first game, so he will need to prove he can get his control issues in order soon if he wants to stick around.
Starting Pitching Rewind:
Entering the game, Buchholz was 2-5 with a 7.19 ERA in nine career starts against the Yankees. Given his slow start in 2012 there was a great deal of concern surrounding his start to 2013 against a team he always struggled against, but all of those fears were washed away after last night’s performance.
Buchholz lasted seven innings with his only one hiccup coming in the form of Travis Hafner’s solo home run in the bottom of the fourth. Buchholz struck out four while walking two and surrendering just six hits. It was a good sign for Buchholz who was simply dominating throughout the game, giving the bullpen a rest while keeping the Yankee offense on their toes with an electric fastball and mystifying curveball.
Rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. connected on a fastball in the third inning to collect his first major league hit. Bradley was a steady contributor in the first game of the season, working the pitchers for three walks, but he must be very happy to get that pesky first-career hit out of the way.
Mike Napoli connected for his first hit of 2013 with a rare infield single. While Napoli was brought in more for his power than his speed, he showed good hustle and had a nice defensive game at first as well.
It was a very chilly 43 degrees at the start of the game, and the temperature kept on dropping throughout the night. Many players donned special caps, but Cuban infielder Jose Iglesias went all out. Iglesias wore a neck warmer/winter hat to keep his face warm while also keeping hand warmers in his pockets. It looked more like baseball in Alaska than New York for the young rookie, but the good news for him is that the weather should start to turn warmer soon.