The Boston Red Sox went 0-7 over the last week and are now 56-74, which is a season-high 18 games below .500. The team has to win 14 of its final 32 contests in order to be better than the 2012 season.
The team has improved offensively with the addition of Yoenis Cespedes, but the pitching has been the real cause of concern since the All-Star break with the fifth worst ERA (4.33) over those 35 games in the AL. The Red Sox have the second worst record in the AL at 13-22 since the break and could very well fall short of the 69 games they won in 2012.
Players Getting Hurt
Xander Bogaerts found himself on the 7-day DL on Sunday after continuing to show concussion-like symptoms since Friday’s contest against the Seattle Mariners. Felix Hernandez hit the 21-year-old with a changeup that got away from him square in the helmet and Bogaerts was later pulled from the contest after experiencing a lack of focus.
Not only is the shortstop of the future out, David Ortiz was pulled for the second straight game with an injury on Sunday afternoon. The 38-year-old fouled a ball off his foot earlier in the game and could not get to second on a ball in the gap. Ortiz was later pulled and is considered day-to-day.
Will Middlebrooks hurt his hamstring on Monday, but made his way back into the lineup after Cespedes left due to a personal matter on Thursday night and went 1-for-2 in that game. Since then, the 26-year-old has played every game and is hitting .250 (3-for-12) since then. The Red Sox need the third baseman to stay on the field in order to see what he can provide towards next year’s team.
Home Cooking Not There
The Red Sox started off hot against the Houston Astros with a 2-1 record through the first three contests, but the team has lost eight straight since then and ended an 11-game homestand with a 2-9 record.
With a 29-40 record at Fenway Park, the squad now has the second-worst mark at home of any team in the AL as well as the entire MLB and their elimination number for the playoffs is down to just 16.
The Red Sox had the best record in the AL at home in 2013 and third best overall in the league. If the Red Sox hope to improve on its record the rest of the way, then the road games are crucial to that goal.
The Red Sox have just six games this week with three at Rogers Centre against the Toronto Blue Jays and another three-game set at Tropicana Field against the Tampa Bay Rays. It is a great week to play AL East games, but the Red Sox are just 19-32 against the division this season.
Prediction: 4-2; the Red Sox have played much better on the road than at home this season especially at Toronto. The Red Sox may be 1-5 at Tampa Bay in 2014, but they could squeak at least one win out of this series.