Every team has off-weeks, I’ll give the Red Sox that. But the Sox just dropped three of their last four; the series finale against Detroit, and both the series opener and finale to the Chicago White Sox. Neither of those AL Central teams is even close to first-place in their division or postseason-caliber, in case you were thinking that Boston was evenly or even out-matched in these series. The Tigers are 5 games behind the 1st-place Indians; the other Sox are 12.5. These are teams we should be beating, or at least, not rolling over and letting them beat us.
So what happened? I’ll break it down, game by game…
For what feels like the hundredth time this season, the lineup failed to give Chris Sale any run support on Friday night. He pitched 8 innings, had 10 strikeouts, and only allowed a single run. Unfortunately for Sale, his offense didn’t score a single run, either. You can argue that not having JD in the game was detrimental, but when you remember that this is a team that’s scored 14 runs in a single Yankees game, the argument pretty much falls apart.
Final Score: a pathetic 1-0 loss.
In a very confusing twist, David Price has won his last five starts. His Saturday game was the team’s sole win, thanks in large part to JD Martinez, who hit his 21st home run of the season, a 2-run in the 5th. 16 of his homers have come since the beginning of May, and he continues to lead the league in both HR and RBIs, with 21 and 55.
Final Score: an adequate 4-2 win.
Today, Rick Porcello did what David Price did yesterday, allowing Jose Abreu to score in the first, meaning Chicago led first in every game of this series. He pitched 6 innings, striking out 5 but also allowing 2 earned runs on 5 hits. The White Sox scored off the 2016 Cy Young winner twice without getting hits. Heath Hembree surprised everyone by holding it down in the 7th, and Brandon Workman struck out three in the 8th before turning it over to Matt Barnes, who promptly ruined everything. Before Barnes, the game was still 3-2 and the Red Sox could’ve made a comeback. But he put runners on base and then gave up a 2-run double. With a 3-run deficit on the board, the Red Sox lineup looked defeated before they even played their last side.
The offense, meanwhile, stranded 12 batters on base on the way to a 5-2 loss. Over this three-game series, Boston hitters went 1-for-24 when hitting with runners in scoring position. That just cannot happen.
Finale (see what I did there?) Score: an even more pathetic 5-2 loss to make it a series L
What comes next?
The Red Sox will face the shockingly-bad 19-45 Baltimore Orioles next. Baltimore is last place in the division, 25 games out of first. Since their last game against the Sox on May 20, they’ve lost 13 of their last 18, and just got swept by the Toronto Blue Jays, including a 13-3 loss today. Hopefully, this will be an easy opportunity for the Red Sox to pick up some much-needed wins and climb back up to first place, but after this week, I’m not counting anyone out, not even Buck’s birds.
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