I had a few thoughts/predictions about this game earlier today – Justin Masterson would pitch a great game, and the offense would finally score some runs of Erik Bedard and give Masterson some run support. I was basing this on Masterson’s prior performances against his former team, plus the fact that he’s obviously been the most reliable starter this season. Bedard was terrible in his most recent start, right before he was traded to the Red Sox from the Mariners…I felt like he was poised to get tattooed in his first start in a Boston uniform.
By the end of the first inning, I was afraid that I was terribly wrong. Bedard mowed through the Indians in about 7 pitches, and Masterson was shaky, allowing the Red Sox to put two quick runs on the board. After that inning though, the bats (particular the bat of Carlos Santana) came to life, and Masterson (outside of a solo home run to Josh Reddick) settled down and started to mow through the Boston lineup. He struck out 9 Red Sox batters (not an easy feat with that lineup), including 4 strikeouts in the second inning alone. Reddick struck out, but made it to first safely on a wild pitch. He was stranded there after Masterson proceeded to strike out Jason Varitek, Marco Scutaro, and Jacoby Ellsbury.
The offense responded quickly to Boston’s two-spot with two runs of their own in the second. Carlos Santana was the star of the night, going 3 for 4 with 3 RBI, including a monsterous home run in the 6th inning. As someone mentioned on our Facebook page, this was a nice attempt at atoning for his terrible performance during the rest of the series. (In fact, prior to tonight Santana had struggled against Boston all season). Kosuke Fukudome had a good night as well – 3 for 5 with an RBI, as did Matt LaPorta – 2 for 5 with an RBI. Michael Brantley is out of the lineup with a sore wrist, so the rest of the offense needs to pick up the slack; tonight, they accomplished this. The Tribe was 5 for 13 with runners in scoring position and had 3 RBI with 2 outs. I hope they can keep this up in Texas – the Ballpark at Arlington is a hitter’s park, but it will also be a zillion degrees (100+ degrees each day).
Now about tomorrow night’s game – I’m going to make myself a promise that I’m not going to flip, no matter what takes place during Ubaldo Jimenez’s first start as an Indian. Texas has an extremely potent lineup, so it’s entirely possible that he surrenders some runs. (Although if he happens to blow his elbow out or something, then I will flip out).
Final thought – can you believe that tonight’s attendance of 38,477 is a post-World War II attendance record for the Red Sox? I’m just shocked that tonight’s game had more in attendance than a past Yankees-Red Sox game, or an interleague game.