Nick Wass- APRED SOX- Sunday's game turned out to be the rubber game of a quick 3-game weekend series against the Orioles at Camden Yard, perhaps garnering a little more attention than usual due to DH David Ortiz's shennanigans in the dugout on Saturday.
Having allowed a total of 38 runs in nine games this season against Baltimore, the prospect of a shutout looked fairly remote- although Boston still had some momentum after Saturday night's win. After getting out to a quick 1-0 lead thanks to a 2-out EBI single off the bat of Mike Napoli, Red Sox starter Jon Lester gave up a leadoff single to O's outfielder Nick Markakis before getting the next three batters out.
It looked as though both Lester and Baltimore starter Jason Hammel were settling in by the time the second inning rolled around. However, with two away and Ellsbury on 2nd in the top of the 3rd, Hammel might as well have been throwing phones at Big Papi as Big Papi cranked a 2-0 offering from Hammel into the seats in left field for his 20th homer of the season and put the Red Sox up 3-0.
Meanwhile, Lester was cruising- not allowing anyone to get past second in seven innings of work. Hammel lasted 5⅓ innings before TJ McFarland came on in relief. The Red Sox got some additional insurance in the top of the 8th when Saltalamacchia hit a 1-out 2 RBI single after McFarland had loaded up the bases with an intentional walk of Jonny Gomes to put the Red Sox up by a score of 5-0.
Matt Thorton gave up a leadoff single to Markakis after coming out of the bullpen in relief of Lester, but got Manny Machado to hit into a double play before getting Chris Davis to strike out swinging. Pedro Beato came on in the bottom of the 9th and got the Baltimore batters out in order, giving the Red Sox a 5-0 win and taking two out of three from the birds in Camden Yards.
Big Papi went 4-4 with a homer and 2 RBI on the day while Lester went 7 complete innings, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out eight batters. I gotta say what really left an impression on me for the last two games was the RBIs with two out- a total of six from Saturday and Sunday's games.
The Red Sox are in the middle of an unusual and unplanned part of their schedule where they'll have three opponents in two ballparks over the span of three days after Thursday's game against Tampa Bay at Fenway was postponed due to rain. Currently the Red Sox maintain a tenuous half game lead over the Rays for the AL East lead after Tampa Bay lost to the Yankees in the bottom of the 9th at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.
Monday evening's matchup at Fenway will have Tampa Bay's David Price [5-5; 3.75 ERA] going up against Felix Doubront [7-4; 3.78 ERA] with the somewhat unusual start time of 7:10 ET. Monday night's game will be televised on NESN. After the makeup game against Tampa Bay, Boston will then host the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night with a start time of 7:10 ET- Joe Saunders [9-9; 4.48 ERA] is slated to get the start against Brandon Workman [0-1; 4.40 ERA].
NCAA VOLLEYBALL- The Boston College Eagles have released their official 2013 schedule this weekend, with the season getting under way at the Western Carolina Invitational Tournament at the end of August where they'll face off against University of South Carolina-Upstate, UNC-Asheville, Western Carolina and Wright State.
Intra-conference play will begin on September 28th when the Eagles host Miami at Chestnut Hill- but even some matches against ACC opponents will have the feel of out-of-conference matches, as Notre Dame, Syracuse and Pittsburgh's volleyball programs will be making their Atlantic Coast Conference debut this season.