Don’t look now, but the Red Sox are streaking with exactly 10 day to go before the July 31st trade deadline. Over the weekend, Boston took 3 straight from the Kansas City Royals, and improved their season record to 46-52. On Friday, it was Clay Buchholz who got the start for the Red Sox, and allowed 4 runs on 10 hits over 6 innings of work. With the Red Sox down 4-1 in the 6th inning, Xander Bogaerts drilled a 2-run homer to narrow the deficit to just one run. Later in the 6th, Jonny Gomes was summoned from the bench to pinch hit for Jackie Bradley, and promptly grooved a long home run to dead center which gave Boston a 5-4 advantage. In game 2 of the series, Rubby De La Rosa stymied the Royals over 7 one-run frames. Similar to Friday’s game, the Red Sox benefited from a 6th inning, tie breaking home run. On Saturday, it was Mike Napoli’s majestic home run over the monster that ultimately proved to be the difference for Boston. With a sweep in their sights, the Red Sox handed the ball to Jon Lester on Sunday. Perhaps predictably, the southpaw spun 8 innings of 4 hit shutout baseball, walking just 2 while striking out 8. Unlike the previous two games, Boston received offense early and often against Kansas City starter Yordano Ventura. The Red Sox 6 run attack was punctuated by a 3 RBI day for Daniel Nava, as well as a 2 run shot by David Ross. Boston now heads into Toronto to begin a crucial series with the third place Blue Jays.
- I can’t speak for the rest of the league, but whenever a Red Sox player slumps it seems like they have a go to phrase up their sleeve. This year in particular, it was Dustin Pedroia who predicted that his bat would heat up like a California penitentiary. Now, with David Ortiz slumping, the slugging DH used his own metaphor to predict his eventual offensive awakening. (David Ortiz: “I’m about to get hotter than Jamacia in the middle of August”)
- The evolution of a pitcher usually isn’t one that follows a linear path. Instead, pitchers like Burke Badenhop undergo different roles, and in turn must make necessary adjustments to be a successful major league arm. For the the righty sinkerballer, Badenhop began as a starter, but found his niche in the bullpen. (Badenhop accepts his role, and has become an unlikely success)
- Brock Holt’s breakout season has helped the Red Sox in more ways than one. Not only has the 27 year old’s versatility proven to be unmatched, but his ability to hit in the lead-off spot has answered the Red Sox biggest question since losing Jacoby Ellsbury. While Holt isn’t the base running threat that Ellsbury was, his ability to get on base has provided a spark atop Boston’s order. (Brock Holt keeps foes up at night)
- In a season that has mostly consisted of under performance, Andrew Miller has been one of the few silver linings for the Red Sox. The tall, lanky reliever currently boasts a sub-2.oo ERA, while also tallying 61 strike outs in 38 innings. For Boston, Miller has been a model of consistency in the bullpen, and will either be an important part of the Red Sox second half, or a hot commodity on the trade market. (Andrew Miller’s relief stats stand tall)
- Tweet of the weekend: It ain’t over ’til it’s over…
Dustin Pedroia: "We're trying to win games. This thing is a long way from over."
— Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) July 19, 2014