After coming into the series on a four-game losing streak, the Boston Red Sox were hoping to get things back on track against a Detroit Tiger team that has been below .500 all season. Instead, the offense continued to struggle and the starting pitching wasn’t great except for Eduardo Rodriguez. After splitting the first two games of the series, the Red Sox dropped the final game in unspectacular fashion 8-1. Certainly not the most inspiring finale heading into a four-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays. In case you missed the series, here is a rundown of some important takeaways.
Before getting into what went wrong, there are a few good highlights that came out of this series…
Eduardo Rodriguez’s Start
It’s hard to know if Rodriguez will ever have good outings back-to-back this season. After a rough outing against Toronto, he put together his best start of the year. The lefty pitched five shutout innings and struck out a season-high 10 batters. He was the only starter in the series to make it to the fifth inning, which probably says more about the state of the rotation overall. If E-Rod can find an ounce of consistence, Boston will be in good shape going into the playoffs.
J.D. Doing Better
It’s no secret that J.D. Martinez has not been the same hitter since the All-Star break. In the 16 games going into the Detroit series, he hit .210 with a slugging percentage of .387. The Tampa Bay series was especially brutal. In 14 at-bats he collected only one hit. Against the Tigers, Martinez showed a little more life, collecting three hits, including a home run and two RBI’s. If the offense is going to have any chance to return to form, it will need their DH to start driving in more runs.
New Bullpen additions
While adding Kyle Schwarber was the big move at the trade deadline, Chaim Bloom also added relievers Austin Davis and Hansel Robles. Neither addition was particularly exciting, especially since both pitchers had ERA’s over 4.00 this season. It may be early to decide if these guys will pan out, but neither have pitched well in three appearances for Boston. Robles currently owns an ERA of 9.00 for the Red Sox and Davis gave up five hits in 1.2 innings against the Tigers. With injuries in the bullpen, it made sense for Boston to pickup a few guys to improve its depth. The issue is neither player is any better than the internal options they had.
Ever since the MLB cracked down on pitchers using foreign substances, the Red Sox rotation has simply not been the same. Garrett Richards and Martin Perez struggled this series as neither made it past the fourth inning. Perez himself didn’t even finish the second inning. This puts so much extra pressure on the bullpen that is already spread thin. With Chris Sale’s return nearing, Richards and Perez should be pitching to save their jobs but, instead it looks like they are trying to give the other guy the job. It’s tough to win ballgames when your
Offense with Men on Base
When looking at the box score of each game, the Red Sox collected their fair share of hits. The team got at least nine hits in each game, so they created plenty of chances for themselves. The issues are stringing those hits together and getting that timely hit. Boston left 27 guys on base in the series and went 3-25 with runners in scoring position. No team is winning a lot games going at the rate. On the flip side, maybe the team just had a string of bad luck and things will turn around for them. A few hits at the right time and Boston leaves Detroit winning the series and instead of losing it.
Boston will begin their series against Toronto tonight. With Nathan Eovaldi on the bump to open the series, the Red Sox have a great opportunity to set the tone going into the weekend.