Odds and Ends from Fenway, May 1
So that’s what a new month feels like. Not that there’s all that many wins to choose from this season, but you’d be hard-pressed to say any was bigger than Sunday’s 3-2 decision over the Mariners.
“I think we needed that,” manager Terry Francona said. “Gotta be good for [Carl Crawford], and it’s really good for us. Seeing him come off the field with that smile, I have a feeling it will come a long way.”
Some notes to wrap up the day …
- Tim Wakefield and Francona said they both knew the knuckleballer would be done if anyone reached base in the sixth, even though Wakefield’s pitch count was at 76 when he left. “I talked to him after the fifth,” Francona said. “I don’t like to get in the way, but he knew he was on a little bit of a short leash. Part of it was because I didn’t want him to lose the game. I thought he deserved to win that game.” Wakefield estimated about 70 of his pitches were knuckleballs, and said Jarrod Saltalamacchia did a fine job catching.
- With his first start of the season in the books, Wakefield has the distinction of being one of just eight pitchers to start a game for one team in 17 consecutive seasons.
- David Ortiz’s two-run double in the third snapped an 0-for-16 skid for the Red Sox with runners in scoring position, and a 16-inning scoreless drought for the Sox stretching to the fifth inning Friday night.
- Crawford was bound to get going at some point, yes. As to whether he’ll turn the game-winning hit into something — who knows. He can’t do much worse than he has all year, so the likelihood is he’ll be better from here on out, even if Sunday isn’t specifically a catalyst. “You never know what’ll get you started,” Crawford said. “Hopefully I can improve on it.”
- If the reaction on the field wasn’t telling enough, the Red Sox players who spoke post-game all talked about how happy they were to see Crawford get going. “He’ll produce, he will,” Wakefield said. “He’s too good not to.”
- They’ve come in bunches for Crawford this season. He has more multi-hit games (6) than he does games where he’s had just one hit (5).
- The Mariners, who still took two of three at Fenway, weren’t a slouching team, even if they don’t finish atop the American League West come season’s end. They came in Sunday with a five-game win streak, and until Jamey Wright allowed the single to Crawford, M’s relievers had thrown 15 scoreless innings.
- Matt Albers and Jonathan Papelbon were both stellar after Bobby Jenks’ implosion. They combined for three perfect innings. “Papelbon had a [seven-pitch] inning, which was tremendous, because if we don’t score, Pap can go back out,” Francona said. “Albers has been really, really good. He had life down in the zone. It’s exciting to watch.”
- Jacoby Ellsbury’s still rolling. His hit streak’s at 10 games after a 1-for-4 performance. He’s 16-for-43 (.372) during.
- Jed Lowrie’s sun-made triple in the ninth was his first three-bagger since Aug. 17, 2008, against the Blue Jays.
— Evan Drellich