The Red Sox came into Friday night’s game with a 1 game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East. This series has the potential to significantly shake up the playoff picture as well as jumpstart whichever team can come away with the series win. You can chalk game one up to Boston. Yes, it would feel great for the Sox edge out the Jays in a one run, well played game. On the other hand, it feels even better to absolutely embarrass Toronto on their home field. The Red Sox put a 13-3 hurting on the Jays Friday night, led by a 4 RBI night from Dustin Pedroia. Tack on a 3 run home run from Hanley Ramirez in addition to at least one hit from every starter, and you’ve got yourself a very convincing Red Sox victory.
On a side note, Rick Porcello was able to collect his MLB leading 20th win of the season. Everyone seems to discount how well he’s pitched because everytime he takes the mound, it seems like he’s getting 10+ runs of support. What these people don’t seem to realize is the fact that if they were scoring 3 runs every time Porcello took the hill, they’d still be winning the majority of his starts. Porcello was able to shut down one of the American League's’ premier offenses allowing just 2 earned runs, on 6 hits while striking out 7, in 7 innings of work. This has improved his record to 20-3 and his ERA to 3.21. If you don’t think he should at least be a serious Cy Young candidate, you’re wrong. Rick Porcello has established himself as one of the top pitchers in the AL and deserves to be regarded as such.
Xander Bogaerts might finally be heating up. Maybe...I hope? It seems as though his batting average keeps dropping no matter how many good games he has that convince us his slump is over. In Friday’s game, Xander went 2 for 6 including a solo homerun to left in the top of the 7th. I’m not going to be convinced that Xander is back to being Xander until I see it consistently. I want to see him using the whole field and getting on base a lot more than I’ve seen him in the past few weeks. This was a solid start.
The Red Sox have 2 more games in Toronto before heading back home to Boston. If the Red Sox win both of these games, they have a chance to go up in the division by 4 games. The key to Friday's win is that even if they lose the next two games, the worst that can happen is Boston falling into a first place tie. Obviously it would be ideal if the Sox could get the sweep. However, this Blue Jays team is better than they showed on Friday. I’m a lot more confident about this series now than I was on Thursday, but it's up to the team as a whole to come through. Eduardo Rodriguez will get the ball on Saturday afternoon. After tossing 7 ⅔ hitless innings his last time out, E-Rod will need to keep it going. Unlike his last outing, maybe the offense will hold up their end of the bargain.