Hopefully the Red Sox have woken up after beating the Indians two out of three in Cleveland. They carried the modest of winning streaks back to Boston and have taken care of business against Baltimore.
Friday night, the Red Sox opened up the series by crushing the Orioles 9-1. Rick Porcello was solid, going six innings and allowed only one run on four hits. The Boston bats did the rest, scoring at least once in five of the eight innings. Betts, Devers, Martinez, and Benintendi combined for five runs batted in.
On Saturday, Fenway saw Eduardo Rodriguez improve to 14-5 on the year. Rodriguez went 7 and ⅓ of shutout ball, while scattering only 6 base-runners. The Red Sox offense was far from great, going just one for seven with runners in scoring position. But in the end, two swings of the bat was all Rodriguez and the bullpen would need.
Brock Holt broke the 0-0 tie in the fifth by homering on the first pitch from Baltimore’s starter Asher Wojciechowski. Holt’s drive landed in the Red Sox’s bullpen. MVP candidate Rafael Devers added to Boston’s lead in the seventh with a two run shot. Devers smacked an 0-2 fastball from Paul Fry into the Monster Seats. Boston was up 4-0 heading into the 8th.
Matt Barnes then came in for Rodriguez and struck out two while only surrendering an infield hit to Trey Mancini. Brandon Workman came on for the ninth and punched out two of the three hitters to close out Baltimore.
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Sunday afternoon, Nathan Eovaldi struggled in his first start since April 17th. He gave up five runs, including a three run shot in the first, in only two innings. Boston trailed 6-0 in the bottom of the 3rd. However, the offense picked him up. The Red Sox scored 13 runs, including six in a wild 6th inning. The bullpen was also solid, allowing two runs, in seven frames.
Rafael Devers was at it again with three extra base hits and four runs batted in, including a seventh inning rocket into the right field seats. That two run blast put him over the century mark in RBI with 101. He now sits with 46 doubles, 27 homers, and is now hitting a cool .332.
While sweeping the Orioles is not worth breaking out the Duck-Boats, Boston cannot afford to take anything for granted.
One of the most frustrating facets of the 2019 Red Sox has been their inability to take advantage of bad teams. Boston has already lost 11 games to the Blue Jays and Orioles. In 2018, they only lost seven games all year to Toronto and Baltimore. That is a major reason why Boston finds themselves 6.5 games out of the Wild Card.
Another factor is how inconsistent the Red Sox have played this year. From July 22nd through the 27th, the Red Sox won five out six against the Rays and Yankees. They scored at least nine runs in four of the five wins.
Chris Sale took the mound at Fenway against the Yankees looking for a massive four-game sweep. A win would bump Boston to seven games behind New York. Sale then allowed six runs over 5 and ⅓ while giving up two homers. (Including one that Austin f***ing Romine hit to New Hampshire for his third of the year.)
After Sale’s disastrous start, the Red Sox went into a tailspin. They lost 11 of 14, including an embarrassing 4 game sweep by the Yankees in the Bronx.
Boston simply cannot afford another rough stretch like that if they want to defend their title in October. Fortunately for them, their roster is talented enough to make a run. Also, they are definitely still in striking distance of the wildcard. They will have to pick up approximately a game a week in the standings the rest of the way. Hopefully this modest five-game winning streak becomes the spark Boston has been looking for since March.
Photo Courtesy of the Boston Red Sox Twitter
Story by Chad Jones
Follow Chad on Twitter @shutupchadjones