Daniel Bard sustained his third loss of the season on Wednesday against the Oakland Athletics! (Photo Credit: Eagle Tribune)
It’s Thursday, which means we’re one day away from the weekend! Let’s jumpstart the day with some headlines and news from the city of championships!
* The Boston Red Sox concluded their three-game series with a 4-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday at Fenway Park. Daniel Bardearned his third loss of the season, and yielded eight hits and four earned runs.
* The New England Patriots bolstered their roster on Wednesday by acquiring former wide receiver Jabar Gaffney. The 31-year-old, who played for New England from 2006 through 2008, recorded 85 passes for 1,059 yards and eight touchdowns.
The Red Sox still have the ability to shock the most cynical of fans.
This week Boston hit the road to win six out of seven games, losing a 4-1 decision to the White Sox on Sunday for their only blemish. Sure, the Sox played the Twins and White Sox, neither team a world-beater; but those are the teams that must be beaten to win a World Series. Felix Doubront (1-0)further proved he was starting pitcher material with a win in game one of the Chicago series, allowing three runs in six innings to finally earn his first win of the year.
The bullpen didn’t collapse (although they certainly tried in the Twins series at times).
Jon Lester (1-2) out-dueled Jake Peavy in a stellar 1-0 win on Saturday as well. Winning that contest was crucial for Boston because it showcased their ability to out-pitch an opponent rather than out-slug, something they have yet been unable to do in the first month of this season.
Ryan Sweeney and David Ortiz continue to rip the cover off the baseball, sitting atop batting average leaderboards in the American League.
Last week I wrote more about Boston’s near certain demise. The Red Sox are not yet out of the woods. There is still a lot of work to be done for this team to contend in a very tough division. The additions of Rich Hill and the possibility of a Daisuke Matsuzaka return before May is out, along with using Aaron Cook out of the bullpen would signal the pitching depth and help Boston still most desperately needs.
Although the Red Sox finish this April with one less win than April of 2011, they still hold a better record. At 10-11 this season, the Red Sox improved on their 11-15 record to end the April of 2011. We will see if they can improve on their impressive 19-10 May 2011 record in order to creep out of the basement in the American League East.
Mike Aviles has won Boston’s starting shortstop job, beating out 22-year-old prospect Jose Iglesias, who was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.
In 38 games with Boston in 2011 after coming over in a trade, Aviles hit .317 and scored 17 runs off the bench. Aviles began his career as a shortstop for Kansas city in 2008, when he hit .325 in 102 games for the royals and took 4th in Rookie of the Year voting.
The Red Sox made the smart move, as they have Nick Punto to man the bench and will thus enable Iglesias the ability to play every day and work on his batting mechanics. The Red Sox have an exceptionally deep bench this year, having signed Cody Ross, getting Ryan Sweeney in a trade with Oakland, and Punto coming over via free agency. Ultimately, this move will help the Red Sox transition to Iglesias without any real hiccup.
Boston has yet to decide on the final two members of their starting rotation, although Felix Doubront has made a strong case for a position. With the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees loaded with talent, Boston will have to utilize every option available in order to make the playoffs after last season’s collapse.