In his losing bid Thursday night, Matt Clement allowed only three runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings. Though he's had some control issues in the past, Clement walked just two, hit one batter and struck out one. The righty had been on a bit of a hot streak coming into the contest, having won three straight decisions. But this was one of the rare occasions when Sox batters actually let the pitching down, instead of vice versa. The Sox were shut out for only the fourth time this year.
The much maligned Red Sox pitching staff now has four of the 22 AL pitchers with 12 or more wins. Matt Clement is 13-4, Bronson Arroyo is 12-9, David Wells is 12-6, and Tim Wakefield is 15-10. Though they have no true ace this year, all four of them could potentially end up with 15 wins apiece.
Over the course of five games, the Sox got eight innings each out of Clement and Arroyo and two complete games from Wells and Wakefield. In that stretch they gave up only 12 earned runs and provided their bullpen with some much needed rest. Those efforts helped the Sox end their season long homestand at 10-4. Those are just the types of outings the club will need down the stretch and into October if they are to defend their World Series title.
This weekend's series in New York will provide some insight into how the two teams presently match up in a playoff type atmosphere, and could be a preview of yet another possible October showdown. The adrenaline will be flowing on both sides in the three game series, as each team gets up for the other like almost no other opponent. Wells, Curt Schilling, and Wakefield are set to take the mound for the Sox in the hope of beginning yet another win streak. If they prove successful and take the series, it will not only place more distance between them and the Yankees in the standings, but will also define both teams in the season's final month.
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