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Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Plenty to like in rout of Orioles

By Gordon Edes



BOSTON -- Six things to like about the 13-2 thrashing the Red Sox gave to the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night:

* Of all of Ben Cherington’s signings in the offseason, the one that drew the most industry snickers was the three-year, $39 million deal he gave to Shane Victorino, who last summer had been cast off by the Phillies and then rendered irrelevant by the Dodgers, the team that had traded for him, when they acquired Carl Crawford from the Red Sox.

Well, lookee here. After his two-homer, seven-RBI performance Tuesday night, Victorino has a WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of 4.8, which is the second best of his career and ranks him third on the Red Sox this season, behind Dustin Pedroia (5.1) and Jacoby Ellsbury (5.0).

Here is the list of major-league outfielders with a higher WAR than Ellsbury and Victorino:

1. Mike Trout, 7.6.

End of list

Carl Crawford? He’s at 1.3. At $21 million per season.

* The Sox's blowout win came on a night when the Tampa Bay Rays coughed up a 5-1 lead to the Los Angeles Angels, closer Fernando Rodney blowing the save in the ninth inning of a 6-5 Rays defeat. Tampa Bay has fallen 2 1/2 games behind the Sox, who now have one fewer loss than the Rays, with Tampa Bay having three games in hand.

It was Rodney’s eighth blown save of the season. Sox closer Koji Uehara has not allowed
a run in 20 2/3 innings over 18 outings since July 9. Who would you trust?

* For all the drumbeats for Clay Buchholz, Sox left-hander Felix Doubront keeps rolling along. He did a great job keeping his composure in the third inning, when a ground-ball base hit, a broken-bat single, a hit batsman and an invisible strike zone created a heck of a mess: bases loaded, one run in, no outs, and an Orioles team sending its best three hitters to the plate: Manny Machado, Chris Davis and Adam Jones. Doubront went sac fly, popout and whiff, limiting the damage to two runs, and allowing nothing thereafter. Since May 16, he has given up three earned runs or fewer in 18 of 19 starts.

* Have the Sox figured out how to pitch to Chris Davis? Need to be careful here, the man leads the majors with 46 home runs. But after hitting four home runs in Balimore’s first seven games against the Sox, the Orioles slugger has gone 2-for-14, with two singles, striking out eight times.

* Pedroia alert: In his first at-bat since a certain ESPN Boston scribbler noted that he has yet to homer this month, the Sox second baseman scorched a ball off the Monster that would have been a home run anywhere else, including Yellowstone. He had three hits and is on a 14-for-33 (.424) tear with six doubles and a triple in that span.

* Lefties, anyone? He threw only three pitches Tuesday night, but Matt Thornton hit 95 on the radar gun in his first appearance since coming off the disabled list. A healthy Thornton gives John Farrell the choice of four lefties out of the pen, the others being Craig Breslow, Drake Britton and Franklin Morales. The mix-and-match possibilities are endless, especially in an AL East loaded with lefty hitters.