Baseball can be a weird game, and tonight's 3-1 Red Sox win over the Blue Jays was just that. Don't let the low score fool you: The teams combined for 15 walks, added to a combined 13 hits made for a lot of stranded runners. And some pretty bad baseball to watch.
The Sox offense was pedestrian beyond their proficiency for taking pitches. Jonny Gomes was the lone Boston player to have two hits, and while three players doubled, there weren't the home run pyrotechnics we've gotten accustomed to at the Rogers Centre.
Ryan Dempster got the win, spreading four hits and three walks across six innings, yielding just one run. He only struck out four, but he got the job done. The Sox bullpen -- while not perfect -- held the fort to secure the win. David Ross was busy behind the plate, getting hit with balls, once appearing to strain his elbow trying to hold onto a pitch that was way outside, and having to block or retrieve wild pitches from Dempster and a couple of relievers (notably Andrew Miller). In addition to his defensive prowess, Ross walked three times. Good player.
Two big storylines emerged during the game. The first was the growing accusations of Red Sox pitching using some sort of foreign substance. It began earlier today with Blue Jays analyst Dirk Hayhurst noticing a sheen (that he suggested could be Crisco) on Clay Buchholz's left arm, and continued with Jack Morris, also a Toronto commentator, saying the same. Tonight rumors persisted on Twitter that during this game Morris was making the same accusations of Junichi Tazawa on the Blue Jays' broadcast.
Naturally, NESN didn't say anything about that (although Remy was pretty outraged about the Buchholz situation). As an amateur, I thought nothing looked off. The arms of Blue Jays reliever Esmil Rogers looked just as shiny to me, as one example. Also, as the Buchholz rumors developed throughout the day, wouldn't you have to assume you'll be under a microscope today? I have trouble believing Tazawa was up to anything. We'll see.
One thing I'm fairly confident of: Toronto is emerging as this year's enemy for the Sox. We always have the Yankees rivalry, of course, but every year there seems to be one other team that just gets under Boston's skin. I don't know if it's the Farrell stuff, or just the timing of playing them a lot early while they're struggling, but it seems like we've had a lot of drama (and a lot of whining from Toronto). I wouldn't be shocked to see some sort of brawl later in the season if we find accusations build into anything else.
The other big storyline: Joel Hanrahan came on to get the save in a two-run game in the 9th. And it's not that Andrew Bailey has been overused either. All broadcasters appeared confused and as I write this, Tom Caron and Eck don't have answers. I'd imagine we'll have some idea after Farrell's postgame, and maybe some of the beat guys will find out more over night. I was relatively terrified at first, but since it worked out -- Hanrahan gave up a single, but then retired the rest of the Blue Jays hitters -- I'm happy that Farrell took the risk. We need to build up his confidence, and throwing him against a struggling Toronto club was a good way to do that.