Roll out the carpet!
Bring forth your finest foodwares!
The Red Sox have finally pushed past .500, in perhaps the most unlikely game to do so. Going up against reigning AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, with 600 guys on the DL, and the lowly Daniel Bard on the mound, Boston managed to sneak past Detroit 6-3.
Bard only lasted 5 1/3 innings, scattering five hits and a couple of walks to go along with two solo home runs. He seemed to offer a few different looks on the mound. There was some discussion on Twitter that Bard was using a different windup -- a modified version of pitching from the stretch. I noticed that his leg kick was more pronounced than usual; perhaps that was part of it. There were also a couple of occasions where Jerry Remy pointed out that Bard was dipping down to a 3/4 delivery. It seemed to me that he threw fastballs when he did that -- maybe it was a way to get more velocity.
Meanwhile, the Sox offense got to Verlander early and often. They managed 10 hits off the stud righty, with the key one coming in the bottom of the 4th. Daniel Nava came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs, and Verlander fell behind. He was getting too cute with offspeed stuff, so on 3-1 he reared back and tossed a four-seamer right down the pike, 99 mph. Nava swung right through it, so everyone knew what was coming on the payoff pitch. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Nava also knew more heat was coming, and used an inside-out swing to hit the 100-mph fastball to the wall, bringing in all three runs.
The Sox never looked back, as David Ortiz provided an RBI double, and later, a home run, to give them a bit of a cushion. Bobby V used five relievers to cover the rest of the game; Andrew Miller was the only to surrender a run. Alfredo Aceves got the save in the 9th after a brief rain delay halted the game.
So no Dustin Pedroia, but the Sox were able to do just fine. Beyond Papi, Scott Podsednik was the only Sox batter to have multiple hits, but the team collected 11 in all.