The Red Sox have won four games in a row, and the last three have been rather memorable. With a walk-off win against the Yankees and a couple of late-inning victories in Minnesota, Red Sox Nation is feeling good this week.
Let's get to your questions.
What is Jed Lowrie's role now that he is back?
–Teddy, Saugus, Mass.
I am not sure, and I am not sure Terry Francona knows. I think the first thing is to see if Jed can stay healthy. Also, I think they will ease him back in in a couple of different positions, given his versatility. I think with Marco Scutaro very hot over the past couple of days, he will remain the starting shortstop for now. I think if Jed can do what he did when healthy to begin this season, he will once again force the hand of Terry Francona to play him daily. That remains to be seen, but I think he will move around here for a bit.
What are your thoughts on Erik Bedard?
–Stan, Piscataway, N.J.
Well, for two starts that, in a normal season, may be rehab appearances at the minor league level because he is fresh off the DL, I think he's been pretty good. Especially Tuesday night, where he was working with a postage stamp of a strike zone in the first inning and walked four batters, only to give up two runs for the entire game. I am impressed, as I was when he was an Oriole, with his poise. Many guys would lose their cool in the first and lose the outing completely, but he did not and had a chance in the end for his first Sox win. So far, so good.
Where is the best spot in the order for Carl Crawford to hit in your estimation?
–Carrie, Pelham, N.H.
I was pretty sure that fifth was the answer coming into the season. Now that we are 114 games in, I am a little less sure. If and when he can become consistent again, then maybe that is his best spot. My reasoning was that on most nights you have another leadoff man coming up in the second inning in Crawford. However, with his current good-then-bad status continuing, where he is in the lineup currently may be for the best. I also honestly did not expect David Ortiz to be back to 30 homers/100 RBIs. The only issue with Ortiz/Josh Reddick/Crawford hitting consecutively is that an opposing manager can bring in a lefty specialist late in games.
It seems teams are running on the Sox much less. Why is that?
–Tom, Hartford, Conn.
There's two answers there: Jarrod Saltalamachhia and the reputation for advance scouts that now precede him. For a catcher, it just takes a few runners caught stealing on a regular basis to shut down the running game. The past few years, teams were running on the Sox at will. Guys who don't run were running whenever and wherever possible, and were not stopped. Scouts saw this as a key to their advance reports. It was obvious when teams who do not run started running immediately.
Saltalamachhia has been outstanding and has continued to work on his footwork and throwing. The caught stealing numbers are jumping, and as a result, advance reports are changing. Guys who steal bases for a living will continue to try, but the rest — not so much anymore.
How frustrated is Tim Wakefield with not being able to get 200 yet?
–Joan, Sandwich, Mass.
I am sure he is privately. However, I do think he takes some solace in that the team has won a few of these games in the end. It helps knowing that while you did not get the win personally, you helped keep the team in the game and give them an opportunity to win. I think in the three tries he pitched well enough to get the win by allowing only three runs. I know he would love to do it at home in front of the Fenway Faithful. Whenever it happens, it will be a great accomplishment for someone I hold a great deal of respect for.