The Red Sox took care of some business this week after falling 0-2 in their four game set against the Cleveland Indians. The Sox, who had not lost a series since dropping two of three to the Yankees in late June, seemed like they took their foot off the gas pedal a bit earlier in the week, and injuries to their starting lineup and rotation seemed to be catching up with them. Christian Vazquez, Rafael Devers, Chris Sale all remain on the DL and could not contribute to the cause. Against the Tribe, Rick Porcello was 2017 Rick Porcello and not 2016 Rick Porcello. Nathan Eovaldi, who began his Red Sox career with two impressive wins, is 1-2 with a 6.23 ERA and a .409 Batting Average Against in his last three outings.
But the Sox bounced back nicely on Wednesday and Thursday, winning 10-4 behind Brian “BJ” Johnson, and a masterful performance by David Price, who went eight innings giving up only three hits in a 7-0 shut out. Price is currently in his best stretch with the Sox. They’ve gone 16-2 in his last 18 starts and he’s pitched well against the Yankees, Indians, and Phillies, all playoff quality clubs. Price has definitely earned respect from the fans ON the field, and for my early season doubtfulness, to you David I say:
So once again the Sox prove they are able to hang with the other quality squads in the league. The only team that they have been unable to solve is the Oakland A’s (2-4 with a no-hitter thrown in to boot), but they won’t see them again this year unless they meet up in the postseason. Lets preview who the Sox are up against as we close out August and head into a very difficult September.
The way I see it, the Red Sox have two relatively “easy” stretches left. Currently, they’re playing the Tampa Rays in Cigar City before heading into the soulless concrete bowl that is Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field.
(PS...I hate corporate stadium names, but this one is by far the worst...their logo looks like a five year old threw it together on Microsoft paint):
This stretch seems like a slam dunk for the local nine, but Hector Valazquez got shellacked yesterday giving up 8 runs in three innings to the Rays. Porcello and Eovaldi toe the rubber in the last two contests, and the two will have to bounce back from lousy outings if the Sox want to keep their “Won the Series” streak going.
As far as the White Sox go, on paper the Sox should dominate. But earlier this year, the Pale Hose took two of three from you at home. So obviously, the Sox of the Red variety need to return the favor in the Windy City.
Then, the Sox play the Braves down in Hotlanta before hosting the Astros at the Fens. In this six game stretch, the Sox need to pounce on a young but talented Braves team that seems to be fatiguing a bit, going 5-5 in their last 10 games. The Astros have only won five of their last thirteen games, but have also won three straight. Hopefully, the Sox can take advantage of the bit of a slide the Astros seem to be on. I see the Sox going 4-2 during this stretch.
The Sox will then host the Blue Jays (12-4 against them) and the New York Mets. Quick update on the Mets’ season:
But Jake deGrom is nasty, so hopefully the matchup against him is more David Pricey and less Hector Velazquezy.
To end the year, the Sox will play six against the Pinstripes in late September. The Yankees are BANGED up right now (worse than us by far) so unless they can weather these injuries leading up to the mid-September showdown in the Bronx, I’m not sure these series are going to mean too much, much to the chagrin of the schedule makers who were probably drooling at these matchups in early June before the Red Sox started doing this to the rest of the league:
The Red Sox also have three more in Cleveland, and I expect the atmosphere to be similar to what it was this week at the Jake (Yes I still call it that). It felt like the playoffs, and something tells me these two teams are destined to meet in the ALCS.
Oh yeah, even though the minor league season ends on September 3, the Sox somehow have a series scheduled against the Baltimore Orioles. Who they are 14-2 against this year.
The Red Sox have 31 games left this season. If they go 15-16 in that stretch, they will finish with 105 wins and 56 losses. The Orioles lost their 56th game on June 27.
Look for the Sox to get healthy and take care of business down the stretch.