David Price has finally begun to pitch like an ace. Price went 8 scoreless innings while allowing 2 hits, 2 walks, and striking out 8. The Price haters are going to say, “It’s against the Rays so it doesn't count.” First of all, you can’t hold that against him because you can only face who’s on the schedule. He did what he was supposed to do and dominated a pretty awful team. Second of all, coming into Monday, Price had only given up more than 3 ER once in his last 5 starts. Three of these games were against the Mariners, Dodgers, and Orioles who all have solid lineups that aren’t easily shut down. Price’s ERA is now exactly 4.00 and is set to dip into the 3’s for the first time since April. The season as a whole hasn’t been Price’s best, but if he can keep it going for the rest of the season I’m sure Red Sox Nation will be willing to forgive him.
Xander Bogaerts finally seems to be getting something going. Bogaerts went 2 for 4 on Monday with a 9th inning home run that he golfed into the left field stands. After working with Assistant Hitting Coach Victor Rodriguez, Bogaerts has incorporated a toe tap prior to his leg kick that has allowed him to stay back and see the ball longer. Since the change, Bogaerts has collected at least 1 hit in 6 of his last 7 games. Hopefully Xander can return to hitting like his old self, and we can watch his batting average climb back up over the last 6 weeks of the season.
The Sox are now in first place for the first time since July 21st and will look to gain some ground by winning these next 3 games in Tampa Bay. It’s up to Clay Buchholz to get the job done in game two of the series. Buchholz was robbed of a win last Thursday in Detroit and will look to give the Sox a second straight good outing. Pitching as if he were coming out of the bullpen motivated Clay to attack the strike zone and ultimately led to the success the he had not been able to achieve in his first couple stints in the rotation this year. Even if Clay isn’t at his best, the offense has the ability to carry the team to victory if need be. The Red Sox got off to a good start this series and it would be great to see them keep it going.