After a sweep of the Shell of the Yankees at Fenway and taking two out of three from the red hot White Sox in Chicago, the Red Sox are starting to prove that they can beat even the strongest teams in the league. But if Boston wants to remain on top of the AL East, there are some improvements they need to make, beginning tonight in the Bronx.
The Red Sox pitching struggles reared their ugly head again in Thursday night’s 7-3 beat-down of the ChiSox. Southpaw Henry Owens led the way last night (and he’s on his way back to Pawtucket now), only lasting three innings after walking a career-high six batters in his brief outing at The Cell. Heath Hembree came on in relief, but walked in a run with the bases loaded after allowing three straight singles.
Luckily, the scrappy Red Sox offense was on point and allowed the road warriors to take the win, and the series. Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, and Jackie Bradley Jr. each homered in the game and everybody’s bat contributed to this ugly victory in some way.
But it always comes down to pitching in Boston and the Red Sox starters need to show more consistency as a group. Rick Porcello and Steven Wright have shown promising starts so far, but Clay Buccholz needs to stay on track after grabbing his first win of the season on Wednesday night. David Price may just be getting used to the pressure of pitching for Boston, but the $217 million man with the lukewarm fastball needs to start stepping it up, period. No excuses.
With a little consistency, the Red Sox pitching staff could be respectable in the AL rankings, especially with the addition of young gun Eduardo Rodriguez returning to the rotation soon. Add this to a strong bullpen that’s getting stronger, and the Red Sox could finish the year with 90 wins or more and return to the postseason for the first time since 2013, completing the worst-to-first-to-worst-to-worst-to-first all-or-nothing rollercoaster ride they’ve been on since 2012.
As long as those bats keep swinging the way they have been, John Farrell’s crew certainly has what it takes to stay on top this season.