Friday, April 27, 2012
Clearing the bases: Don't count out Boston
By David Schoenfield
First base: Carl Crawford out, Red Sox on a roll. On a day where sources indicated the Red Sox left fielder will miss another three months (a timetable Crawford denied), Boston pounded out 12 hits and 10 runs in roughing up Philip Humber for its fourth straight victory. Suddenly, that lineup is looking imposing, as only the Rangers have scored more runs. Even without Crawford, without Jacoby Ellsbury, and with Kevin Youkilis still struggling, the Red Sox are hitting .293/.346/.490. But Youkilis went 3-for-4 Thursday, including his second home run. David Ortiz is still hitting over .400, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia is slugging .587. This team won't be going away so quietly.
Second base: Marshall law broken. Big win for the Giants as Angel Pagan hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the ninth inning off Reds closer Sean Marshall. Pagan homered off a curveball, and you can't fault Marshall for throwing the pitch: Pagan hadn't homered off a curveball the past four seasons, and had one extra-base hit off a curve all last season. And for members of the Brandon Belt fan club: He went 2-for-4 and is now hitting .273, although he did strike out twice.
Third base: Tigers release Brandon Inge. I guess the Tigers needed somebody to blame after getting swept by the Mariners at home. Inge was 2-for-20 this season and after hitting .197 last season, the leash was short on the 34-year-old veteran. I suppose some team could give him a shot as a utility guy, but it's also possible Inge's 12-year-career -- all with the Tigers -- is over. He came up as a catcher and played for those miserable 2002 and 2003 clubs that lost 106 and 119 games, respectively. He moved to third base and became a terrific defensive third baseman, even making the All-Star team in 2009.
Home plate: Tweet of the day. Humber wasn't quite as good in his first start since his perfect game.