For most of the Red Sox game on Sunday, it looked as though the Red Sox were going to lose yet another game in which their offense couldn’t back a solid effort by their pitching. Luckily, they were able to mount an extremely improbable 9th inning comeback sparking some momentum going into the Seattle series. With a Baltimore win, the Sox were in danger of falling behind the O’s by 2.5 games in the AL East, and having to continue to fight from behind for the division title. The Red Sox are far too inconsistent to be trusted to win the one game Wild Card play in, so they need to stay focused on staying in the hunt for the division title. Yesterday was a huge win for the Red Sox for a couple reasons:
If someone told me yesterday that Clay Buchholz was going to pitch 3 no-hit innings and keep the Red Sox in the game, I would’ve told them they were out of their mind. This could be a big outing for Buchholz because of an adjustment he made to the height of his release point. After watching video of 2013 and realizing that is has gotten noticeably lower, he decided to make a change. Maybe the Red Sox believe that this mechanical tweak can turn him into the same pitcher that he was back then when he went 12-1 with an ERA under 2, despite getting injured and being limited to 108 ⅓ innings. If Buchholz can take over what was supposed to be Steven Wright’s role as the long man, he could be a valuable member of this bullpen.
The Red Sox bullpen is set to look a lot more intimidating today than it has the past 3 weeks. Craig Kimbrel is ready to rejoin the team on Monday just 3 weeks after having surgery on his torn meniscus. While Kimbrel has been out, the Red Sox have gone 8-8 in 16 games. Four of these eight losses have been to the fault of the bullpen. Two were due to Brad Ziegler not being able to get the job done in the 9th inning against Miguel Cabrera and the heart of the Angels lineup. The other two were due to the Red Sox having to pitch unreliable relievers who continued to give up leads in games that could have, and should have been won. In addition to getting Kimbrel back, Dave Dombrowski has made a move for Twins lefty killer Fernando Abad. Kimbrel and Abad will provide the Red Sox with two more quality late inning options in addition Brad Ziegler, Junichi Tazawa, and Matt Barnes. The bullpen has been a major problem for the Red Sox in their current stretch of mediocrity, but starting today it could turn into a strength for the rest of the season.
The Red Sox made a smart move by not unloading the farm for Chris Sale. It would not be worth giving up Mookie Betts or Yoan Moncada, and that was just the start point of what the White Sox wanted in return. Yoan Moncada will be in Boston at some point this season whether it is in a pinch running specific role, or stepping in at third base to gain major league experience for next year. He is a complete hitter with way above average speed, and was not worth giving up for Chris Sale .Their starting rotation is good enough as is to make the playoffs and contend for a championship. Chris Sale may have been our primary target, but Fernando Abad was all we truly needed. There’s a lot to excited about, and as a fan I can’t wait to see how things unfold.