Even with a four-game skid after the Detroit Tigers came into Fenway Park to sweep the series, the Boston Red Sox still have plenty to be happy with in 2014.
The Red Sox had not lost more than three straight since losing the final eight contests of 2012 and this season’s team is not even close to how bad that team was throughout the regular season.
Sure, the 20-23 record is somewhat concerning, especially with the way the offense and pitching has been lately, but with only three games between the Red Sox and the New York Yankees in the AL East there is still plenty of games left in the season to turn it around.
The Red Sox are the 13th worst team in the AL with a .243 average to go along with the 12th worst home run total at 34. The average dips down to .240 with runners in scoring position and the main concern is that Xander Bogaerts has had 35 of the 363 at-bats with only a .143 average that includes two doubles and eight strikeouts.
If the Red Sox can find a way to win the one run games after a 5-10 start, then this squad will be right in the hunt for a playoff spot; though the biggest threat is not being able to get that big hit in close or tie ball games consistently.
The biggest plus for the Red Sox has to be the pitching staff going forward. The team has compiled a 3.79 ERA which is the best of the AL East and the sixth best in the AL through a little over a fourth of the season. That coupled with an outstanding 366 strikeouts for the third most behind the Yankees and Cleveland Indians means the Red Sox just need to keep the hitters from making contact.
The .264 average against puts the Red Sox at 11th in the AL and the average is even worse with runners in scoring position (.272). Sure, the Red Sox have been outscored by 12 runs on the season, but the pitching has kept them in most games. The bullpen has not been too shaky besides Edward Mujica and the starters have been second-best to the Oakland Athletics in quality starts.
The pitching is key is the AL East and will be what could lead this team to a playoff berth come September.