Over the past month, the Boston Red Sox have watched Jon Lester hurl a no hitter, Manny Ramirez blast career home run number 500 and to add to the list of milestones, Wednesday Bartolo Colon hurled career victory number 150 in the Red Sox 6-3 victory at Fenway Park over the Baltimore Orioles. The win improves Colon’s season record to 4-1 and puts the Red Sox at a 41-27 overall mark, good enough for first place in the AL East.
“I don’t really think about the wins,” Colon, who signed a minor league contract in spring training, said through a translator. “Every start I do, I’m starting to feel a little better.”
In only five starts this season, Colon has more than half as many wins as he tallied over the previous two years with the Los Angeles Angels where he went a combined 7-13 over 29 starts with a 5.72 ERA. So far this season, the pitcher fans have seen in Colon resembles that of the Cy Young winner in 2005 that won 21 games.
“He’s been tremendous for us,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “To get a guy you didn’t have when spring training started and all of a sudden he’s right in the middle of the rotation helping us win games, it’s been big.”
It also didn’t hurt that the Red Sox put up five run on the scoreboard in the 1st inning to provide Colon with a nice cushion to work with throughout the early innings.
Hitting out of the 7-spot in the lineup, Jason Varitek blasted his 7th homerun of the season, a 3-run shot that capped the scoring in the 1st inning. The homer was his first in 16 games and helped the Red Sox jump out early and stay on top.
The Orioles made a little noise in the 9th inning, scoring twice off of relief pitcher Mike Timlin to pull within 3 runs with the tying runner at the plate. The Sox called upon Jonathan Papelbon to record the final out and with runners on 1st and 2nd base, Papelbon was able to get Brian Roberts to ground out to end the game earning his 19th save of the season.
In the rubber game of the three game match up, Jon Lester will take the mound for the Red Sox who look to win their 10th series of the year at Fenway. The only series match up that they have lost was a three game set back in April that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim took 2 of 3 from the Sox.
Lester will be up against Jeremy Guthrie who’s record stands at 3-6. He’s faced the Sox twice already this season, both games resulting in Orioles wins.
Tonight’s first pitch has been changed to 6:05pm EST because of the NBA Finals.
Following the game, the Sox will head out on a six game road trip that begins a four consecutive series span of interleague play match ups. Over the weekend Boston will visit the Cincinnati Reds for three games and then travel to Philadelphia to take on the Phillies in another three game series before returning home for a three game set against the Cardinals and then Diamondbacks. Last season, the Sox went 16-6 against the NL, including their World Series sweep over the Colorado Rockies. Dating back to 2006, Boston has enjoy much success against the NL going 35-10 overall in interleague play.