Entering yesterday’s game, Boston had scored one run through two games and seemingly been dismantled by the Angels combo of John Lackey and Jered Weaver. They would have to get to perennial Red Sox “killer” Scott Kazmir if their championship hopes were to remain plausible. With such, the third inning was a breath of fresh air. A walk, single, double, and another single gave the Sox 3-0 advantage. A J.D. Drew two-run homer in the fourth gave the Sox a 5-1 lead. Kazmir would be lifted after six innings; striking out only one, allowing a homer, walking three, and officially giving up five earned runs.
Consider that you could square then double the total amount of runs scored through the first 20 innings for the Red Sox and it would still be less than they scored in the third inning alone. They would go on to score a run off Kevin Jepsen as well, but for the most part Boston’s offense sputtered at the most important facet of their game: getting on base. Boston only left five runners in game one and six in game two. Minnesota stranded 17 by themselves in game two.
So Boston now enters an off-season with Jason Bay potentially becoming a free agent. They’ll likely address shortstop in more depth as well. The obvious options to fill those holes are Matt Holliday and J.J. Hardy. There’s a chance the Bay versus Holliday arguments never come to fruition, but if they do, Boston needs to go with the latter. Their defense was lacking all season, and just check out the year-by-year WAR comparison of the two:
Year Bay Holliday 2007 0.1 7.9 2008 2.9 6.2 2009 3.4 5.6
Of course, it is Boston, so there’s always the probability of them raiding some of the market’s more undervalued talents, too. Expect some turnover, but don’t confuse it with admission of failure. This Sox team was nowhere near as bad as it showed in the playoffs.