By: Jake Perda
Following Chris Sale’s first bad outing in a Red Sox uniform on Tuesday night, the Red Sox needed Drew Pomeranz to step up and have a solid performance in the series finale on Wednesday. To everyone’s disbelief, Pomeranz went above and beyond in accomplishing this task.
Driven by 7 strong innings from Drew Pomeranz, the Red Sox were able to take game 3 of their series with the White Sox. The offense was inexplicably led by Pablo Sandoval, who manned the DH spot in his first game off the DL. Pablo was able to put together a 3 hit night while driving in a run, and since he wasn’t in the field, he didn’t even commit an error! And of course, nothing can be said to be certain except death, taxes, and Craig Kimbrel striking out the side in the 9th. This secured a 4-1 victory and allowed the Sox to move within two games of the Yankees in the AL East standings as they head to Baltimore.
Going back to Pomeranz, he was able to do something on Wednesday that he has failed to do since August 15th of last season. Pomeranz pitched 7 innings. This was a huge step in the right direction for Pomeranz, and the unexpected occurrence of Pomeranz pitching deep into a game provides a huge boost to the bullpen as it allowed them to rest after being given a hefty workload on Tuesday. The key to Pomeranz success was his control. This was the first time this season that Pomeranz hasn’t issued at least one walk. Not only did this allow him to keep his pitch count lower than normal, but it also meant that he was hitting his spots. If Pomeranz is able to consistently control all three of his pitches, there’s not reason that he can’t be the same pitcher who made it to the All-Star game last year with San Diego. However, actually being consistent is easier said than done, so it will be up to Pomeranz to prove that this start was not merely a fluke.
It is May 31st, 2017, and Pablo Sandoval made contributions that allowed the Red Sox to win a meaningful baseball game. Just as I promised that I would, I am giving him the credit that he deserves. He put the bat on the ball, used the opposite field well, and had a great first night back in the lineup. Good for him. But similar to Pomeranz, I want to see him help the team consistently. Only time will tell whether he can make an offensive impact night in and night out, and to be honest, I’m afraid to be reminded of what he looks like in the field. But for now, good job Pablo. You suck a little less today.
We are now two months into the regular season, and Christian Vazquez is hitting .341 with an .838 OPS. Even I, one of the biggest Vazquez supporters out there, would have never seen this coming. While it is still a fairly small sample size, he has made the most of the opportunities that he’s been given, and I would not be surprised to see his playing time increase as the season progresses permitting that he continues to hit the ball well. Even though he has been not been performing up to his ridiculously high standards defensively, that’s the last thing I’m worried about right now. This man knows how to catch.
The Red Sox will now have to regroup as they head to Baltimore for a 4-game series against the Orioles. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding this series considering the lingering hatred between these two teams following the Machado/Pedroia/Matt Barnes dilemma. Will tempers flair yet again? Nobody knows. Will E-Rod be able to shut down his former team? We shall see. Is Manny Machado still soft as fuck? Most certainly. Get ready for some hard fought baseball. Long live the Red Sox-Orioles rivalry.