The Red Sox offense had another big game on Saturday night to put the team in position to go for the sweep on Sunday. Clay Buchholz made it through 4 ⅓ innings while allowing 3 runs on 3 hits. This may not be a quality start for any other pitcher on this team, but I will definitely take it from Clay. He stepped in when the team was in a pinch and kept the game close. You can’t ask for much more out of a guy who very easily could’ve been designated for assignment at any point this year. Those 3 runs would be all the Diamondbacks were able to score despite loading the bases with no outs in the 8th inning. On the opposing side, the Red Sox offense was rolling on their way to a 6 run outburst that was highlighted by home runs by Sandy Leon and Brock Holt. Regardless of their recent struggles, the bullpen was able to bridge the gap from Buchholz to Kimbrel in scoreless fashion to help secure the win. Here’s what Sox fans can take away from Saturday night’s victory:
The bottom third of the batting order may be the key to this offense. When the Sox were blowing teams out in the middle of May, it was because they had Jackie Bradley Jr. hitting .330 out of the nine hole, Christian Vazquez getting on base (and hitting a monster home run off of Dellin Betances that still hasn’t landed), and Brock Holt hitting just like his 2015 All-Star self. The bottom of the lineup looked just as effective tonight as it did back then. Between Holt, Leon, and Benintendi, the bottom of the batting order accounted for 5 hits, 6 runs, 2 home runs, 4 RBI’s and a walk. This is the type of performance you generally look for from the heart of your order. When you’re getting that from your 7-8-9 guys, you’re going to be in a good position to win some ballgames.
Brad Ziegler entered Saturday night's game with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the 8th inning. After watching him blow the lead against the Yankees last time out, I was not at all optimistic. Ziegler proceeded to strike out three consecutive batters on just 10 pitches while winning back the hearts of every fan in Red Sox Nation. Ziegler made the D-Backs look silly in 2 ways on Saturday. In a physical sense, he made their hitters look silly as the Fenway Faithful watched each of the 3 hitters he faced flail their bats at strike three. From a front office standpoint, he most definitely had them checking tonight's Single-A box score to see how the minor leaguers they received in return for him did. Even if those players blossom into successful major leaguers, it was still beyond satisfying to watch Ziegler embarrass his former team.
The Red Sox have a chance to finish off a sweep of this god awful Arizona team on Sunday. I feel like I may be giving them too much credit for winning these games because that’s what they're supposed to be doing. They are a good team so they need to continue to beat up on bad ones. Sunday afternoon will be their first real test of this series as they face Zack Greinke. Luckily for the Sox, they have their ace on the mound as well with Rick Porcello taking the ball. Porcello is looking for his 16th win this season as well as his 12th at home. If this offense can stay hot, I like their chances to break out the brooms before they hit the road for their upcoming 11 game trip.