Red Sox vs. Blue Jays: 3 Up, 3 Down for April 7
The Red Sox offense exploded for six home runs, three from Will Middlebrooks, as they rolled over Toronto for their fourth win of the season.
The Red Sox offense recorded 15 hits, but Jon Lester’s seven inning outing was just as important.
Here is my three up, three down for the rubber game against the Blue Jays.
Three Up: Will Middlebrooks Explodes for Three Home Runs
After failing to get an extra-base hit against the Yankees, Will Middlebrooks caught fire in Toronto and hit four home runs, two doubles and five RBIs.
Middlebrooks’ best day as a pro came in the final game against Toronto as he went 4-for-5 with three home runs, a double and a warning track shot that was five feet short of being his fourth home run of the day.
The Red Sox need Middlebrooks to be a force in the middle of the lineup and he showed against Toronto that he can provide more than enough pop from the right side.
Three Up: Top of the Lineup Fills the Stat Sheet
The top of the Red Sox lineup came up big in the series finale against Toronto.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli combined to go 8-for-18 with two home runs, two doubles, seven RBIs, two walks and two stolen bases.
The most important stat for the series finale was that those four batters combined to go 4-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
Three Up: Jon Lester Improves
Even though Jon Lester won on opening day, he didn’t dominate and he only lasted five innings.
In Lester’s second start the lefty went seven strong innings and was economical with his pitches, needing just 100 pitches to get the 21 outs.
The 29-year-old gave the bullpen a break after John Farrell was forced to turn things over to his relievers following John Lackey's injury Saturday.
Three Down: Salty’s Woes Continue
Jarrod Saltalamacchia continues to struggle at the plate in 2013 as he went 0-for-5 with a strikeout in his fourth game of the season.
The Red Sox’s starting catcher was 0-for-9 in the series against Toronto and had four strikeouts in just two games.
The only silver lining for Saltalamacchia is that the team is 4-0 in his four starts.
Three Down: Jackie Bradley Jr. Looks Overmatched
After recording hits in three straight games, Jackie Bradley Jr. went hitless in the final two games in Toronto.
Bradley Jr. continues to play great defense but pitchers have learned that the rookie struggles with inside pitches and they continue to attack this weakness. Bradley continues to be patient, but until he addresses a hole in his swing the South Carolina product will continue to struggle.
With only one extra-base hit, the 22-year-old is currently the weakest link in the Red Sox lineup.
Three Down: Stephen Drew Has a Setback
There’s no rush to get Stephen Drew in the lineup, but it’s still discouraging and concerning when a player has a setback when trying to recover following a concussion.
Fortunately for the Red Sox, the setback was not injury related but was caused by a game delay in Portland on Saturday.
The extra time may actually be beneficial in the long run because it give Jose Iglesias more time with the major league club.