The Boston Red Sox started off an 8-game road trip with a series loss to the St. Louis Cardinals before nearly sweeping the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend. With only two games left before heading back to the confines of Fenway Park, the Red Sox look like a team still trying to figure out what it will be the last two months as well as heading into 2015.
The team has failed to really make up any ground in recent weeks and the 2014 season has been lost for some time now. It is now time to look ahead.
Cespedes Lighting it Up
Yoenis Cespedes might be hitting for a high average, but over his last three contests he has driven in five runs, including a go-ahead three-run home run in the eighth inning on Sunday to give the Red Sox a 3-1 victory over the Angels.
It was the Cuban sluggers first longball since the Red Sox acquired him from the Oakland Athletics in the Jon Lester deal and has finally started to show signs of being an elite cleanup hitter in a bit market. Sure, it was just one game, but the 28-year-old has shown that his power comes in streaks and this could be a hot couple weeks for the cold and stagnant Red Sox offense.
Pitching Keeping It Close
Ever since Clay Buchholz got lit up against the New York Yankees a week ago, the Red Sox are 3-3 and have not allowed more than five earned runs in more than two of the six contests. The starting staff has been especially stingy of late.
Over the last three starts, Allen Webster, Buchholz and Rubby De La Rosa have allowed a total of eight earned runs in 21.2 innings of work while striking out 19 and walking just seven. It looks as if the younger pitchers can get the job done, but it wouldn’t hurt to get a veteran presence or two to lead the prospects into the future.
The Red Sox have a shot to affect the NL Central race with a short two-game set against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park before heading home for a four-game series against the Houston Astros.
Prediction: 4-2; the Red Sox went .500 in a week in which they should’ve lost at least four games and an easy six-game week, which includes four games at home against the Astros, might just be what this team needs to get a hot streak rolling to play spoiler against the other teams in the division.