Friday, May 6, 2011
By Jeff Flinn - Contributor

Thumbs Up

*The starting pitching continues to be solid. The starters allowed just seven runs in the four game series in Boston. Weaver and Haren had a hiccup, but still kept the team in the game. Santana was dominant until the rain arrived. Joel Pineiro pitched 5 2/3 innings of shutout baseball.

*The bullpen had continued good work from Thompson, who now needs to be sharing the setup roles with Rodney and Downs. Bell was a standout on Wednesday night/Thursday morning with four shutout innings, and made it look pretty easy, save for Youkilis' double in the 12th.

*The hitting finally had a clutch late inning in the 13th inning on early Thursday morning. Props to Bourjos and Aybar for prolonging the 13th inning, and of course to Abreu for the clutch hit this team has been needing so badly. The hitting seemed to feed off of that victory, as they hammered Lackey to cover the next game. Will that 13 inning win be the catalyst for the offense?  Conger continues to hit the ball well. He's now hitting over 100 pts. higher than Mathis. Vernon Wells FINALLY had a clutch hit with the 2-run HR in the marathon game on Wednesday. I hope that finally gets him going. Aybar is now hitting over .340.

*Defensively, Aybar was the star with two great throws in the marathon game to keep it going.

Thumbs Down

*The front end of the bullpen, save for Bell, has issues. K-Rod 2.0 did pitch 2 scoreless innings in the 11-0 win, but looked terrible earlier in the series and does struggle to get any solid stretch of games going. Takahashi is an enigma right now. I try to remind myself that Darren Oliver started his first season here the same way, and then from the 2007 ASB on was a clutch pitcher for 2 1/2 years.

*The back end of the bullpen, save for Thompson, had some issues. Rodney had another hiccup in the 8th inning of the marathon game. It would be nice if he could string a bunch of solid outings together. Walden had his first bad outing in the marathon game, as the Red Sox hit 3 balls hard. For whatever reason, he threw off speed stuff in 2 strike counts. TRUST YOUR STUFF JORDAN. Use the heat with 2 strikes!
Love to hear what you think!

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