The Boston Red Sox returned home from the seven game road trip at 7-1 and all facets of the game were clicking. They did run into some tough pitching over the weekend against the Chicago White Sox.
And after routing the Oakland A's on Monday night, the Red Sox offense once again ran into some tough pitching that has made their bats feeling like the Fenway Park air the past few nights. Cold.
The Red Sox hadn't seen McCarthy since 2008 and he's basically reinvented himself. He had struggled in the past against the local nine and at the Fens but he was masterful last night.
When he did get in trouble, he was able to work out of it.
Daniel Bard didn't pitch all that badly for the Red Sox last night. Unfortunately for him though, the A's took advantage of him when he did run into some trouble.
Bard's stuff was good for the most part. The big difference being is that he didn't get the swing and misses that we've seen from him in his previous outings. His fastball velocity stayed consistent the whole game but it lacked the movement that he's had in the past. And with the A's being patient with him, that proved to be the difference.
Adrian Gonzalez is one of the best hitters in baseball, there's no doubts about that. But right now, Gonzo is in a big funk at the plate. He's 0 for his last 17 at the plate and was even chasing a few pitches that he normally wouldn't.
He came up in a big spot in the 8th inning with the bases loaded and chance to put the Red Sox up with a grand slam or at the very least tie the game up. Instead, Ryan Cook ended up striking him out. After the strikeout, Gonzo showed a little frustration with himself, something the normally reserved Gonzalez doesn't do.
Clayton Mortensen was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket earlier in the day and impressed in his Red Sox debut. After he gave up a leadoff single and then uncorked a wild pitch, he settled down and ended up striking out six over the final three innings. He'll probably be the odd man out though this weekend when Aaron Cook is called up to start for Josh Beckett who is suffering from stiffness in his lat muscle.
Wednesday night also marked the debut of top prospect Will Middlebrooks who also impressed in his MLB debut.
In his first at-bat, he worked a walk and then promptly stole second. He got his first MLB hit when he beat out an infield single. In his third at-bat, he laced a double the other way. He was finally retired by Cook in the 8th for his MLB strikeout. He was also very sound defensively.
One thing's for certain, this kid looked like he belonged last night. Hopefully that continues while he fills in for Kevin Youkilis who went on the 15-day DL with back stiffness.
Either way, the future is certainly bright for Middlebrooks.
The Red Sox are off today but we'll be back in a short while with the pitching matchups for the weekend series with the Baltimore Orioles. So for now, let's take at look at the overnight links from the media by clicking on the read more button below if you're on the home page.
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Sox stay cold at Fenway [Boston Globe]
His prospects are good [Boston Globe]
Cook will take Beckett’s start [Boston Globe]
Sox' luck going, Gonzo [Boston Herald]
Clayton's place? [Boston Herald]
Will Middlebrooks delivers two hits in debut [Boston Herald]
Josh Beckett will skip start [Boston Herald]
Red Sox Pitching Staff Remains in Flux After First Full Month of Regular Season [Tom Caron - NESN.com]
A's stifle Sox, win 4-2 [CSN New England]
Cherington: Injuries have hampered Youkilis [CSN New England]
Cook's arrival may mean a six-man rotation for Sox [CSN New England]
A near-perfect beginning for Mortensen [CSN New England]
Middlebrooks on debut: 'Words can't describe it' [CSN New England]
Bard: 'I was a little bewildered' [CSN New England]
Gonzalez: 'This game is all on me' [CSN New England]
Rapid Reaction: A's 4, Red Sox 2 [ESPN Boston]
Middlebrooks 2-for-3 with SB in debut [ESPN Boston]
Gonzalez mired in 0-for-17 slump [ESPN Boston]
For Adrian Gonzalez, a boiling point, and perhaps some promise [Mike Petraglia - WEEI.com]
Mortensen turns in dazzling debut out of 'pen [RedSox.com]
Adrian unable to come up with clutch hit in loss [RedSox.com]
Crawford, Ellsbury, Kalish making progress [RedSox.com]
Prior inks Minor League deal with Boston [RedSox.com]
photo credit: AP Photo