My favorite moment of that crucial first win over the Yankees last night was Clay Buchholz's fielding play in the third, when he used the entire length of his lanky body to intercept a grounder off the bat of Brett Gardner.The guy was just walking on water last night, and that play encapsulated just how much things were going his way.
But let's talk about his pitching, because I would be remiss in not following up on the post where I was worried about Buch. As with the series and the season in general, I'm not making any predictions, but over his last three starts, he's righted the ship, up to and including last night's gem against New York.
Home runs were also a worry in April for Buch, when he gave up six, three shy of his total number of homers given up in 2010. So far in May, he's given up one -- on his single mistake last night, which was taken yard by Russel Martin. His ground-out to flyout ratio is in the black again, too, at 1.14, which is why it's so fitting his best fielding play came on a grounder.
It was also an especially good sign that he had what The Eck termed "no-hit stuff" facing the Bombers, against whom he had a 1-3 record heading in. This stuff is only getting better, too: in the last 7 days (i.e. his last two starts), he's 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA over 12 innings pitched, having surrendered just two hits while striking out 13 and walking 2.
And so I will cease my worrying. For the moment, anyway.
As for the Red Sox overall, we'll just see how this series goes. Last night was the only time this season other than game 1 of their series against the Angels out in Anaheim that they've won the first game of a series, so there's that. Terry Francona may have given Belichickean lip-service to the idea that this is a series like any other, but in the meantime the pitching rotation has been carefully reshuffled over the last couple weeks to make sure our best guys are on the mound facing New York.
It's not necessarily just because it's against the Yankees that this feels like a must-win series for the Red Sox. It's the timing, with yet another chance to reach the elusive .500 mark should they sweep this series, and at least a stepping stone on that path if they win it. But with last night's shaky bullpen performances from Josh Bard and Jonathan Papelbon, there are still no fowl being enumerated by me.
Meanwhile, with a Josh Beckett - CC Sabathia rematch tonight, we've got appointment television as far as I'm concerned, even if it is on FOX.