There’s really no way around the fact that this series against Tampa Bay is a must-sweep. The Rays are a shitty team. If the Red Sox want to be a legitimate playoff contender, they have can not be losing games to shitty teams. Last week's split with Tampa was a disgrace and we can not have a repeat of that. Coming off of a loss due to yet another night of failure by our dreadful bullpen, this team needed a win. Luckily, they had their ace on the mound Monday night attempting to pick up his 18th win and become the MLB wins leader in the process.
Rick Porcello along with his one and only hat improved their home record on the season to 13-0. Porcello went 7 innings, allowing 3 earned runs on 6 hits, while striking out 7. This was the grind it out kind of outing we would’ve expected from Porcello at the beginning of this year. He got himself into a bases loaded jam with no outs in the 3rd and got out of it while only allowing 1 run. This is the kind of Houdini act that has allowed Rick to be successful. Porcello has only allowed 5 runs in a start once all season, and even in that start he was able to go 6 innings. If I had to choose one pitcher in the AL East that I trusted the most to give me a start of 7 innings with 2-3 earned runs, it would be Porcello. Not David Price, not Chris Archer, not Marcus Stroman. Rick Porcello. Porcello may have a lower ceiling than each of these 3 pitchers, but I would pick him over these guys in a must win game any day. Aside from Porcello himself, it was nice to finally see his hat get some recognition. He has been wearing that thing all season and it has been completely ruining my appetite for about a month now. I don’t know if it’s stained with sweat or rosin or whatever, but I don’t want to know. I don’t think I can handle the truth. All I do know is that he better keep going with that hat because a 13-0 record at home is no joke.
It feels as though the whole world is finally discovering that Mookie Betts is a superstar. He continued to prove that he belongs in the MVP conversion on Monday by going 2 for 5 which included a towering 402 foot bomb that hit the top of the Selfeo sign on the Green Monster. Believe it or not, this was the only home run hit in a 9-4 blowout of the Rays. Mookie is now batting .382 over his last 30 games with 10 home runs and 30 RBI’s. After winning the American League player of the month in July, he has put himself in position to potentially go back to back and take the award for August as well. If they can name him the best player in the American League for July AND August, I don’t see why they won’t be able to name him the MVP of the league at the end of the season.
The Sox now move forward to Game 2 of the series. Drew Pomeranz is the next pitcher in line to take the ball for Boston in another must-win game. After racking up a career high 11 strikeouts in 6 innings in his last start, Pomeranz will look to continue his recent stretch of 5 straight starts with 2 earned runs or less. With the way this offense has been swinging the bats, all Drew has to do is avoid a big inning and he should be fine. The Blue Jays are starting to catch fire, and the Red Sox have to win these games just to keep pace. The Red Sox still sit 2 games back in the division. However, they have a 2 game advantage over Baltimore for the first wild card spot. Despite the fact that I have been skeptical about playing a wild card playoff game all season, I am starting to warm up to it if they can play the game at Fenway. If is Ricky P on the mound in Boston, I feel as though the Red Sox can’t possibly lose.