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Will The Sox Win The AL East?
Can the Red Sox take the division in the playoff push?
As September is nearing, playoffs is becoming a predominant topic in baseball. The powerhouse hitting Red Sox are now in a position where the postseason is not a guarantee. They have been bouncing in and out of first, second, and third place for a majority of the season. The Red Sox, Blue Jays and Orioles have been the most dominant teams in the Al East all season.
Going into Monday Aug. 29th, the Red Sox sit in second place with a 72-58 record, two games behind the Blue Jays. Baltimore sits right behind the Sox, only one game back. So the question we are all wondering is who is going to win the division?
I believe at this point it’s a complete toss up. We can pull out as many statistics as we want to predict the end of the season results but we have to remember that this is baseball. This game is so unpredictable, especially when there are only 30 games left to be played. Any team could take the division with being just a half game up, it could be that close.
The good news is that the next month of baseball is going to be tough for all teams in the AL East. Starting tonight until the end of the season the Sox have two remaining series against the Rays, Yankees, Orioles, and the Blue Jays. So the standings in the AL East are going to be jumping all around for the next month. If the Sox want a legitimate chance at taking the division, they need to be the best team in the month of September, period.
If the Sox do not win the division, they always have the Wild Card. But with the Wild Card , the top two teams have to play in a one game playoff match up to decide who moves onto the ALDS. Boston needs to avoid this at all costs because a one game deciding match up is a tough game to win. If this were to happen I’d be scared to see who Farrell decides to start on the bump.
However I am very confident the Sox will finish the season strong. Their hitting is still very dominant. Ortiz is still showing he’s one of the best with 30 plus homers and 100 plus RBIs. Mookie is still one of the best hitters in the entire MLB right now with 29 homers, 94 RBIs, and a .321 AVG (Did I mention he was a lead off hitter for the majority of the season?). And Pedey quietly is hitting .320 going into Monday. So the bats are there. Again as we’ve discussed a million times, it all comes down to the Sox pitching. Starting pitching for Boston has looked better lately, the bullpen is still an issue. All we can do at this point is pray that the pitching comes around going into September.
The toughest series the Sox are going to have this next month are the ones against the Blue Jays. Toronto plays as the biggest threat towards Boston. They are a very well rounded team that can hit and have some pitching. The two series the Sox have against them in the next month are definitely the most imports series they will have all year.
This all being said, I’m super excited for the next month of baseball because its going to be a a fun one to watch.
The Red Sox Bullpen Is Killing the Red Sox
Naturally, after last night, it is safe to assume that this Red Sox team will advance only as far as their bullpen allows it to. For those who did not see, Eduardo Rodriguez pitched well over five and a third innings, but was pulled after recording an out, leaving the bases loaded for Tommy Layne, a below average middle reliever.
Layne promptly gave up six runs without recording an out, and when Farrell pulled him, Robbie Ross Jr. gave up another two, putting the game way out of reach, and embarrassing the Red Sox on national TV.
As frustrating as watching that game was, even a casual fan had to wonder why Farrell decided to get involved. Rodriguez’s pitch count was up, but should the manager have given him a chance to get out of the inning with the bottom of the order coming up? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. But if pulling him was the right decision, then-why Layne? Ziegler is your ground ball guy. Layne is the guy you put into a game that is already out of reach, and when it comes to the Kansas City Royals, a two run lead does not put a game out of reach. Citation: their eight runs in that same inning.
Farrell’s managing abilities come into question seemingly daily, taking off some of the pressure of under-performing Sox. Regardless, the fact remains-if this teams expects to advance past the ALDS, or take the AL East, their bullpen must show some backbone and record some important outs.
Royals Blow Out Sox, Win Series
The Kansas City Royals came into Boston playing their best baseball of the season, this 3 game weekend series was a test for The Sox. A test they would end up failing.
After the mostly successful road trip, (I say mostly because of the back to back losses to Tampa Bay), Red Sox nation was optimistic that this team has turned the corner. They were coming home to face the hottest team in baseball in Kansas City, and The Royals proved why they should still be looked at as a threat in the American League. Stephen Wright was terrible in his game 1 start, giving up 5 earned runs in the first inning. Eduardo Rodriguez took a step back with his start yesterday, giving up 5 earned runs in 5 innings. The best pitcher for The Sox over the weekend was David Price. Price looked locked in on saturday, which is a good sign going forward.
The Bullpen once again looked over matched and really scared out there. The Royals put the pressure on teams with their speed and ability to put the ball in play. Matt Barnes had the worst night of his life on sunday night, he pitched 0.0 innings, and gave up 5 earned runs. I really would’ve liked to see Papelbon on the mound. It’s been said time and time again, this bullpen has to be much much better if this team is going to make a run in the postseason.
With a nine game west coast road trip on the horizon The Sox have to pile up as many home wins as they can. That continues tonight against Tampa Bay. A series sweep is a must.
Sox Go 5-2 On Most Recent Road Trip; 4 Game Set in Tampa Upcoming
When ESPN mentioned that the Red Sox would be playing three baseball games in three nights in three different cities, I had to whip out a Red Sox schedule because I could not believe how MLB could pull that one off. Mostly, I felt for the Sox themselves and how they must have been feeling. As daunting as it seemed, the forecast only got worse as the Red Sox had to play a one o’ clock game in Detroit after a night game in Baltimore, leaving the Sox with four cities in six days.
The sweep preceding this awful road trip was a good morale boost for the streaky Sox, who were not having a great month up to that point. When the Diamondbacks came to town, I believed the Sox would take two out of three, but they played great and swept Arizona out of the stadium. The next night, in Cleveland, Drew Pomeranz (finally) pitched a gem, and gave the Red Sox their fourth win in a row, and his first in a Boston uniform. All was well so far, but the next two nights, the Orioles loomed large.
Continue reading Sox Go 5-2 On Most Recent Road Trip; 4 Game Set in Tampa Upcoming »
Are The Sox Hitting Their Stride?
The Boston Red Sox have won 9 of their last 12 games. With 5 of those wins coming on the road against some of the American league’s best, Cleveland, Baltimore, and Detroit. This, so far successful road trip is no fluke. From pitching, to hitting, to defense this Red Sox team is hot right now. I usually don’t like to compare teams, however, this team has a 2004 feel to it. I know every Red Sox fan remembers that team, the camaraderie, the pitching towards the end of the season, and the most similarity between the two teams is how each team played, and has played towards the end of the season.
Over this road trip, The Sox starters have a combined ERA of 1.51. It doesn’t matter who’s on the mound right now, from Price, Porcello, Pomeranz, and even Clay Buchholz, they are all producing. Most impressive all the starters are able lately to go deeper in the game, which really helps with a bullpen as putrid as The Sox pen. With these being the dog days of summer and another long road trip on the horizon, The starters have to continue to dominate the way they have been.
The offense hasn’t been too shabby over this stretch. Betts and Ortiz have been hot of late, and with constant contributing from Sandy Leon, Dustin Pedroia, and Hanley Ramirez this offense isn’t showing any signs of slowing up. It would be nice to see Xander get going, his last two games he has had two hit in each game, which is a good sign. As well as the starters have been pitching they could go south very fast, and if or when that happens it will be up to the offense to carry the load.
Sox Cruise to 6th straight Win
bettsAfter last night’s 8-1 win over the Orioles, the Red Sox seem to be on fire. This was their 6th straight win and they have now moved into the top spot in the wildcard. They are now only one game behind Toronto for first place in the division. One of the many reasons the Sox are playing so well is star outfielder, Mookie Betts. Betts is playing unbelievable right now and definitely should be in discussion for MVP right now. Since August, he has batted .403, with seven homeruns and 20 RBI’s. He had a three home-run game against Arizona on the 14th and a two home-run game against the Orioles on the 16th. The three home-run game was Bett’s second time doing that this season and the first time a Red Sox player has done that since the great Ted Williams. I know that Jose Altuve is having an amazing year, batting .364 for the Astros, but if the Sox make the playoffs and the Astro’s don’t than Betts should hands down get the MVP.
The Red Sox starting pitching has also been a big factor why they have won 6th straight games. In the past seven days the Sox starting pitching has only let up a total of eleven runs. Rick Porcello picked up his 16th win on Sunday, and all season long has given the Sox a pitcher they can rely on. If Porcello keeps pitching as well as he has, he will definitely be in the discussion for Cy young. Rodriguez has also been a nice surprise lately. In the month of August he has an ERA of 2.08. It really seems like he is turning around his season. Unfortunately, on Tuesday, while pitching a no hitter through four innings he had to come out of the game due to injury. Hopefully, this is just something minor and continues to pitch well for the rest of the season.
The Sox have 43 games left and a three game lead in the Wild card standings so as of right now they are in a good position to make the playoffs. I believe that they will and if they don’t I will consider this season a disappointment. Go sox!
Sox Drop Series To Yankees
Farrell's days could be numbered if The Sox don;t turn this around.
Are you kidding me? This past Yankees/Sox series might have been the most frustrating regular season Red Sox series EVER. This team has a real problem finishing games, and that will ultimately be the reason this team doesn’t make a deep playoff run. If they even make the playoffs. As of now, yes they are a playoff team. However, do they really look like a playoff team? The obvious answer is no.
The Red Sox should have won this series pretty easily, but now? The Yankees are only 3 games back of The Sox in the standings. The Yankees are not a good team. They unloaded at the trade deadline by trading, Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman, and Carlos Beltran. New York pretty much waved the white flag at the deadline, and now they have hope. I’m not saying The Yankees are a threat in the division or the wild card. The point is these are the games you have to win when you’re fighting for a playoff spot.
The Red Sox had a lead going into the 7th inning in all 3 games of the series. They lost two of those games. The one game they did win, they walked the bases loaded in the ninth. This Red Sox bullpen is putrid. It seems like they can’t get anyone out, especially when there are guys on base. It seems like this pitching staff has no guts. They can’t get the big strikeout when the pressures on, it seems like they get tight and timid.
This series wasn’t all the pitching staffs fault. What happen to the offense? Just about a month ago they were crushing the baseball. Now? They have 2 hits in their last 29 attempts with the bases loaded. This offense is much to talented to go into slumps like this. Speaking of slumps, why does it seem the whole team goes in one giant slump at the same time? It seems like this team is lacking confidence right now. They could really use a benches clearing brawl to wake them up, or you know they could fire the manager.
They start a 3 game series with Arizona tonight, it’s safe to say sweeping The Diamondbacks is a must. Especially with the tough road games on the horizon.