Red Sox Journal 
May Update, May 20, 2011

The Boston Red Sox have seemingly gotten a grip on the 2011 season. After being swept out of Toronto by the Blue Jays in three games, the Red Sox went into New York and swept the Yankees for only the third time in the last 25 Years, the last being in 2004. The early season wake-up call was capped by the first homer from the catcher position this season for the Sox, when the castigated Jarrod Saltalamacchia bounced a line-drive off the top of the fence in right-field off Joba Chamberlain, to seal the Red Sox 7-5 victory, and the sweep.

Even coming off the sweep, the Red Sox had just attained a .500 winning percentage, at 20-20. The next game, versus last-place Baltimore, started badly, as the Red Sox were down 6-0 after 5-1/2 innings with another lousy Daisuke Matsuzaka start. The Sox countered in the bottom of the sixth with RBI doubles from Jed Lowrie and Kevin Youkilis, and RBI singles from Red Hot Adrian Gonzalez and erstwhile starting catcher Jason Varitek, and the score was 6-5 after 6. Former Yankee Alfredo Aceves, came in in the top of the 7th, and pitched well for three innings, only allowing one solo shot to Mark Reynolds in 7th inning.

The Sox went into the bottom of the 9th trailing 8-7, and a fly-out left them two outs away from going under .500 once again. Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia then walked, with Pedroia trotting after being down 0-2 in the count. Up was Adrian Gonzalez, and he kept the team sailing in the right direction with a first pitch wall-ball double to win it 8-7, with Pedroia taking a chance and scoring from first with the stiff crosswind blowing in from right-field.

The Detroit Tigers came to town, and the game was rain-delayed with a 0-0 score in the top of the 8th inning. Clay Buchholz pitched seven strong innings, only allowing four hits, and when the game resumed Daniel Bard retired the side in order. In the bottom of the inning, with some classic over-management from Tigers skipper Jim Leyland, who removed reliever Ryan Perry after he had retired Jed Lowrie and Mike Cameron, and brought in lefty Daniel Schlereth to face lefty Carl Crawford. Crawford walked, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia quieted the naysayers for another day, as he knocked a double off the wall and Crawford scampered home from 1st to give the Sox a 1-0 lead.

Old friend and now Tiger DH Victor Martinez doubled in the top of the 9th off Jonathan Paplebon, but he was able to escape the inning, stranding a man on third to get his 8th save. With John Lackey and now Daisuke Matsuzaka on the disabled list, the performance of Buchholz in this game put many minds at ease, and left little doubt that the Red Sox will need Beckett Lester and Buchholz to be the three aces of this staff if the Red Sox have division pennant aspirations, and Tim Wakefield and Felix Doubrount now the 4th and 5th starters, although this may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

— Roman Llimar

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