I must admit I was cautiously optimistic coming into this series against the Tigers. This would be the first real chance for the Sox to test themselves against a really well rounded and potent Tigers team. They made a very impressive showing taking 3 out of 4 from one of the AL's best teams and proved they can beat good teams as well as bad ones.
The first game I must admit I had nearly chalked up as a loss mentally, fortunately the Red Sox did not. The matchup of the undefeated Mike Maroth against the struggling Julian Tavarez did not look favorable for the sox. Prior to the game Maroth fell ill and was unable to make his start, forcing the Tigers to call up struggling minor league pitcher Zach Miner. With the new matchup between Tavarez and Miner one would have anticipated fireworks from the potent Sox and Tigers lineups rather than the unlikely pitcher's duel that ensued. Tavarez gave what is most likely his most impressive start of the year with 7 innings, 4 hits and only one run scored silencing the Tigers bats. Zach Miner also gave a more impressive performance than expected pitching a better game against the sox than in his most recent starts at the triple A level. Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon seemed to wrap up the game with ease in the 8th and 9th innings not giving up a single hit and holding on to the smallest of leads to clinch the win and the save for Papelbon. Manny and Kevin Youkilis were responsible for most of the Red Sox offense both having 2 for 4 days and driving home a run. Kevin Youkilis' consistent hitting has continued to be impressive and has one of the best averages in the American League.
Game 2 called for some roster movements with David Ortiz sitting out the second game due to illness. This allowed Manny to be moved to the DH spot. As a result, Eric Hinske and Willy Mo Pena started in the outfield to replace the still injured JD Drew. This games looked much more favorable for the Sox than the day game with Ace Curt Schilling on the mound against the Tigers Chad Durbin. Schilling had what could only be described as a shaky outing, giving up 8 hits and 4 walks over 6 innings. Fortunately for Schilling these base runners were well distributed and only two runs scored thanks to some outfield heroics by Eric Hinske making a diving catch while simultaneously doing a faceplant in the outfield warning track. Brendan Donnelly and Javier Lopez combined to provide two scoreless innings leading into a perfect ninth inning by Hideki Okajima in his second appearance of the day to record the save. On the offensive side Eric Hinske provided a home run two score the two runs with two outs in the inning to provide the difference in the contest in favor of the Sox. Wily Mo Pena was walked three times in the game defying the belief that he is an impatient hitter who constantly strikes out and shows that he may be maturing in his major league career. Perhaps at some point he'll be worth trading away Bronson Arroyo for....but I doubt it.
Hideki Okajima making two appearances in one day and not allowing a hit.
Julian Tavarez for making his best start of the year.
Eric Hinske for winning the night game for the sox with both his glove and his bat.
Kevin Youkilis for continuing to be a vital part of the sox offense.
Curt Schilling for having a shaky outing that by all rights should have yielded more than two runs for the Tigers offense. This win had more to do with the Heroics of Eric Hinske than Curt's pitching.
The sox offense for failing to score more than two runs against a struggling minor league pitcher who flew in from Detroit only hours beforehand.