Terry Francona has now managed 1000 games in a Red Sox uniform (the pants at least), and as Curt Schilling is fond of reminding people, he knows his team very well. That is why, even after Tuesday Night’s disastrous performance, Tito put David Ortiz right back into the lineup against Joel Piniero. You see, what Tito knew, and many of us didn’t was that, Ortiz’ .149 AVG going into the game not withstanding, the big guy was hitting .391 against Angels starter (and former Red Sox bust) Joel Piniero. Lo, and behold, he singles in the second to move an eventual run along, and then hits a game winning blast into the monster seats in his next at bat. It’s not much, but an opposite field home run is definitely a step in the right direction.
Other than Ortiz’ heroics, Nomar night at Fenway really belonged to John Lackey. Lackey, who pitched for the Angels for eight years and won game seven of the World Series for them as a rookie, has all the respect in the world for his former teammates and manager Mike Socia, but there is no love lost between him and his old organization.
So, if there looked like his fastball had a bit more zip to it last night, or that he was a little angrier on the mound or that he was trying to make the entire city of Anaheim explode with his mind, you might be right. The jist of it is that he was dominant in going seven innings giving up just two hits and one run (on a homer). He was everything that was advertised when he came to town, and he was loving every minute of it, in that “screw with me and I’ll kick you right in the taco, bitch” kind of way.
Don’t tell anyone, but the Sox have won ten of their last fifteen, have been getting quality starts out of that staff for a few weeks now, and the new guys are finally hitting (Beltre is at .340).