The Red Sox will return home on Tuesday night and host their second to last homestand of the 2014 season. While both teams are well out of contention, Tuesday’s match-up of Alex Cobb vs. Clay Buchholz appears to be an interesting battle on paper. Prior to his most recent start in which he allowed five runs in four innings, Buchholz posted a 3.18 ERA, and was holding opponents to a .261 OBP dating back to early August. In 17 career starts against the Rays, the 30-year old boasts a 2.21 ERA over 110 innings pitched. Alex Cobb, on the other hand, has thrown the ball well all season, as evident by his 2.82 ERA in 25 starts. In his last 15 trips to the mound, the 26-year old Boston native holds an ERA of 2.01, and hasn’t allowed more that three runs in a start since June 23rd. In 45 career innings against the Red Sox, Cobb holds a 2 and 3 record, and has allowed 23 runs on 39 hits.
- Getting on-base hasn’t been a problem for the 2014 Red Sox, but cashing in with runners on certainly has. Heading into Monday, Boston ranked 9th in the American League in on-base percentage, reaching base at a respectable .314 clip. But while Boston has been able to reach base, their .366 slugging percentage ranks dead last in the American League, bringing their offensive struggles to light. Therefore, as the offseason begins the Red Sox might want to follow in the footsteps of the Baltimore Orioles, and sacrifice some on-base skills for more power. (On-base vs. Slugging: How the Orioles’ summer rise could inform the Red Sox’ winter)
- With a crowded outfield and a mainstay at second base, most consider Mookie Betts to be part of a trade this winter. But before Boston deals their 21-year old rookie they must consider what he’s meant to the top of the order. After the departure of Jacoby Ellsbury this past offseason, Boston was forced to try different players atop the line-up. Over the course of the year, 5 different players auditioned for the lead-off role, each enjoying varying levels of success. Since getting his shot at the top spot, Betts holds a .302/.380/.429 slash, and has tallied 11 first inning runs in 16 career starts. (One problem solved: Red Sox have found their leadoff hitter in Mookie Betts)
- Just 27 months have gone by since the Red Sox elected to move on from fan favorite Kevin Youkilis in favor of Will Middlebrooks. At the time, Middlebrooks looked to be a power hitting force that Boston could plug into the middle of the order for future seasons. But since then, the 26-year old has struggled to find any consistency at the major league level, while also sustaining his fair share of injuries. Of course, it would be easy for Boston to walk away from the idea of Middlebrooks at third, but the righty bat has established a fan base among the Red Sox organization; ranging from players and coaches to front office members. (Red Sox aren’t giving up on Will Middlebrooks)
- In baseball you can never really draw final conclusions from just one game, but Opening Day 2014 certainly offered an eerie foreshadow for the Red Sox this season. In that first game of the season, the Red Sox lost 2-1, and were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Since then, the Red Sox have played in 55 one run games, and hold a record of 28-27. When you think about it, the Red Sox season could have been drastically different if they were just a little bit better with runners in scoring position. (Opening Day foreshadowed Sox offensive troubles)
- Red Sox chairmen Tom Werner, and Red Sox team partner Michael Gordon were assigned to the MLB’s new “Pace of play” committee on Monday. The group assembled by Bud Selig is made up of 7 different MLB officials ranging from individual team personnel to MLB front office members. In the past, pace of play conversations have included limiting catchers trips to the mound, placing a time limit between pitches, and automatic intentional walks. (Red Sox involved in MLB’s pace of game committee)
- Tweet of the day: Enjoy it while it lasts…