Red Sox

Roche: 16 Innings, Plenty Of Positives For Sox

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Red Sox pitchers Josh Beckett and Franklin Morales puts on their rally caps during Boston's 16 inning 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Red Sox pitchers Josh Beckett and Franklin Morales puts on their rally caps during Boston’s 16 inning 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – How many of you made it for all 16 innings of the Red Sox-Rays game Sunday night into Monday morning?

Good for you. I fell asleep in the 14th inning. Up until then, I thought we saw a great game. Frustrating for sure in watching the Red Sox go 2-14 with runners in scoring position, but there were some good things to take out of this 1-0 16 inning marathon win…

- Let’s start with the health of Josh Beckett. A few tense moments when he was feeling out his plant foot/knee landing area. Thoughts popped up that he was going to have to come out of the game with that hyper-extended knee just not right. However, Beckett was fine and then brilliant in posting eight shutout innings. It’s been a pleasure to watch this guy go from a flamethrower that we saw dominate to 2007 postseason to a pitcher who mixes it up and locates with the best of them.

- How nice is it to see Jason Varitek work with Beckett and the rest of this staff? Tek caught all 16 innings Sunday night and then hopped on a plane to Baltimore. Francona joked “we might have to carry him on the plane,” after the win. Tek better hope Saltalamacchia remains healthy for the next few days. He must have slept on that plane ride with six or seven ice packs wrapped all over him.

- The Sox bullpen was outstanding again. We continue to take Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon for granted. And, Matt Albers and Alfredo Aceves have been big time finds by Theo Epstein and his staff.

- We may be adding Franklin Morales to the “find” list. He’s as dangerous and effective lefty out of the pen when healthy as you’ll come across. Let’s hope he can stay healthy.

- I will never get sick of watching Dustin Pedroia play. The kid brings it every night, every play. You know how hard that is to do? He has that “it” factor. Sunday night he made a few ridiculous defensive plays. On one, he got up to make a throw on a ground ball to his right that was as quick a play as you’ll ever see. He’s all over the bases and the job he does at the plate is superb. His 15-game hitting streak was punctuated by the game-winning single in the 16th inning. You almost need an iso cam on him the entire game because you’re afraid you’ll miss something.

- It’s been tough to watch JD Drew hit this season. He’s been messed up at the plate since last season when umpires weren’t calking balls and strikes the way he’s used to. He’s not getting the same pitches called for balls. It has screwed him up mentally and his confidence and swing are gone. I thought it was interesting to hear GM Theo Epstein with Tony Mazz and Marc Bertrand Friday on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Theo said Drew’s swing is hard to bring back when it’s messed up, but Theo also said that Drew has worked harder than he ever has in trying to fix it. He said he’s taken more extra BP lately than he’s taken the whole time since his arrival in 2007. That is commendable, but the question is….has Father Time caught up with him?

- With that said, you have to give props to Josh Reddick. Pretty much dismissed as we all thought Ryan Kalish would be the “next big thing”… Reddick has put himself in the position where he HAS to play. It will be strange to have four lefty outfielders, but you have to play your best players, right?

- It was interesting to hear ESPN’s Orel Hershiser scold Adrian Gonzalez Sunday night for 1) swinging at the first pitch, and 2) hitting to left field with Dustin Pedroia on 2nd and nobody out in a scoreless game in late innings. I though A-Gon could do no wrong?

 – And finally, as we get closer to the trade and waiver deadlines… here’s what I want Theo to try to pick up: 

1) a right-handed bat…..preferably Michael Cuddyer of the Minnesota Twins.

2) a veteran starter for depth and if it has to be a waiver pick- up so be it.

3) a shortstop/utility guy. Would love for that guy to be Jed Lowrie… if he can just healthy.

Follow WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche on twitter @RochieWBZ

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