After a brutal loss on Thursday afternoon, Friday night’s game was going to be big in one way or another. In the case that they lost, this game could have served as the beginning of the end of the 2016 season. If the Sox weren’t able to bounce back, they may have begun an irreversible skid that dragged them out of the playoff picture. On the other hand, the Sox picking up this win can serve as a reminder to the team that if you make a mistake, you just have to go out the next day and make up for it. This game got ugly from the very beginning. Boston received a pair of first inning home runs from David Ortiz and Jackie Bradley Jr.. The offense never looked back tacking on 6 more runs throughout the rest of the game highlighted by a 4 RBI performance from Hanley Ramirez. The pitching staff continued to contain the opposing offense and this led to the 10-2 blowout.
Rick Porcello stayed hot and collected his 17th win of the season, which tied for the Major League lead with Toronto’s J.A. Happ. Porcello’s only mistake occurred in the first inning when he left a 91 mph fastball over the plate that was taken over the wall in right-center field for a 2 run home run. For the remainder of the 7 innings that he pitched, Rick Porcello was the same Rick Porcello we’ve seen all season. He continued to get batters out and keep the Sox in the lead. It’s gotten to the point where 7 IP and just 2 ER doesn’t impress me anymore. Now that’s what I expect that out of Porcello. To impress me it’s going to take 8 or more innings pitched of 1 run baseball. If you told me this on July 1st 2015 when Porcello got absolutely annihilated on Canada Day in Toronto, I would’ve laughed at you, called you a liar, and then probably cried because my favorite baseball team was being ruined by this bum from Detroit. It’s amazing to think about how much the perception of Porcello changed. From abomination to ace in just one season, Rick Porcello has stepped up his game and has not showed signs of slowing down. His hat is freakin’ disgusting though.
This offense as a whole has been on a tear this past week. It seems as though it’s someone different leading the charge every night. Friday night, it was Hanley Ramirez getting the job done. Hanley collected 3 hits and 4 RBI’s while even stealing a base. Hanley’s defense has been a pleasant surprise this year. However, for the most part he has been very underwhelming on the offensive side of things. This lineup has a completely different look to it when Hanley is swinging the bat the way that he’s capable of. HanRam is an important cog in this offense and if he can stay hot, I have faith the rest of the lineup can do the same.
With losses from both Baltimore and Toronto, the Sox find themselves just half a game back of the Blue Jays for the division lead. The out of their next 6 games, 2 are against Detroit and 4 are against Tampa Bay. All 6 of these games are extremely winnable and I expect the Sox to reclaim first place by the time they return to Fenway. They will look to keep the ball rolling on Saturday night with Drew Pomeranz taking the mound. Pomeranz is coming off the best start of his short Red Sox career where he claimed his first Red Sox win. If Pomeranz can pitch that effectively this time around, the team will be in a great position to win. With the way this offense has been hitting, as long as Pomeranz doesn’t completely go off the rails, he should be fine. If all goes well, Friday will have been the last night we go to sleep as second place fans.