Hanley Ramirez HRs Protect Red Sox Lead

Boston is still celebrating Hanley’s Thursday night homer. His 3-run blast in the bottom of the 9th lifted the Red Sox over the New York Yankees. For many, it signaled the renewal of the Red Sox and Yankee rivalry. That rivalry isn’t as intense anymore. Boston’s lead in the AL East, however, sets up another potential showdown for the division title. While Hanley Ramirez HRs protect Red Sox lead in the A.L.East, other players on the team are contributing to Boston’s success, too.

The Red Sox are finally getting into that groove they lost in June. BackHanley Ramirez HRs protect then, their pitching staff dominated the American League, their hitting imitated other teams, and their tight grip on first place left other teams feeling hopeless. But then we fell out of first place and didn’t regain it until recently. But that’s all changed. David Price, while not pitching exactly the way we expected, now has over 200 strikeouts this season. Rick Porcello has emerged as perhaps the Red Sox best pitcher in the rotation. Ortiz is maintaining his hitting. Mookie Betts is in the running for an MVP. And last, but not least, Hanley Ramirez has hit 17 home runs with 52 RBI since the All-Star break. Ramirez has not only redeemed himself after a dismal 2015 season, but he’s emerged as the likely successor to David Ortiz.

Hanley Ramirez HRs protect the Red Sox, But For How Long?

While Boston is on their hottest streak so far this season, now isn’t the time to coast. If anything, now’s the time to buckle down. Porcello, despite his setback last Wednesday, is still an ace. However, if he’s going to get the run support he needs, the team has to learn how to stop leaving so many runners on base. The Red Sox still tend to get stick in mid-game ruts where it seems like they give up on a possible victory. That needs to stop.

As the Red Sox go into the final weeks of the season, they have to closely study their opponents to find weaknesses they can take advantage of. Not only for the sake of the team, but for the sake of grabbing another World Series Championship.

Red Sox Prepare For Big Series vs. Yankees

The Red Sox ended a rather frustrating series with the Orioles Wednesday night, suffering a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Kevin Gausman. It was the second night in a row that Toronto lost and the Red Sox were unable to extend their divisional lead. The loss still keeps the Red Sox in first but does not leave them comfortable.

Both Toronto and New York lost Wednesday, making it a game the Sox must find a way toseries win right? Wrong. The league’s most potent offense was held to four hits to Kevin Gausman. If you can recall, Gausman has already lost twice to Boston this year. He also has a career ERA of almost 5.00 on the road. However, the Red Sox made him look like Roger Clemens in the series finale with his eight shutout innings. After scoring 23 runs in two games, the Sox have mustered just four in the last two games.

All that incompetence has made this upcoming series that much bigger in the AL East. The Red Sox will welcome the Yankees into Fenway for four games with their top spot uncertain. After years of being brushed with desolation, this rivalry may finally heat up like the “good ole days.” This series will finally be played with a purpose. Last month, this may have looked like another meaningless series. Oh, how things have changed.

Since taking two of three from the Red Sox in early August, the Yankees have been red hot. In fact, they have been one of the hottest teams in baseball. Once sellers at the deadline, the Bronx Bombers find themselves just two games out of the second Wild Card. Even with that depleted bullpen, the Yankees have found a way and come into Fenway winners of seven of their last ten.

The Keys To The Series

After a disappointing loss from Rick Porcello, the Red Sox turn to Eduardo Rodriguez Thursday night. Rodriguez has been great lately and has had success against the Yankees this year. The Red Sox will need a bounce-back start from Clay Buchholz as well on Friday. Finally, this gives David Price a chance to erase some demons against the Yankees this season as he has looked horrible against them in three starts.

So yes, it is fun to see a big series between the Red Sox and Yankees in September. However, it became more magnified only because the Red Sox blew a chance in the series against the Orioles. This is a real chance for Boston to feel comfortable in the division and make life hell for the Yankees in the final three weeks.

Porcello Emerges As Red Sox Unlikely Ace

When David Price signed a 7-year $217 million dollar deal last December, many assumed he’d fill the role as the Red Sox ace. For that kind of money, a pitcher should do more than just win a few games. Despite Price’s strong performance, all eyes are now on Rick Porcello. As Porcello emerges as the Red Sox unlikely ace, many in Boston are beginning to wonder if he can win the AL Cy Young Award, and carry the team to a World Series.

Since starting his career in 2009, Porcello has held his own in the American League (for the most part).porcello emerges Despite an ERA that often hovered above 4, he led the American League in shutouts in 2014 with three. Porcello is a strong pitcher, but before this season did not have many opportunities to prove himself. It didn’t help that he went 9-15 his first year in Boston. It is, however, hard to blame Porcello’s dismal 2015 season on him alone. 2015 was one of the Red Sox worst seasons in recent memory. Porcello and the rest of the pitching staff didn’t have strong run support. Thankfully, 2016 is proving to be a much different year for the better.

As Porcello Emerges, So Does Rest Of The Team

One of the reasons why Porcello is finally getting the recognition he deserves is because of run support. Four of the team’s hitters have 20+ home runs and five of them have a batting average over .300. On top of that, other pitchers on the rotation are showing their strong stuff, too. Steven Wright is surprising everyone with a 13-6 record. While Price may be taking a back seat to Porcello, he’s holding steady with a 15-8 record including 201 strikeouts.

It’s all but certain that the Red Sox will make the post season. If they can keep it together, they’ll meet either Toronto, Cleveland, or Texas in the playoffs. Those are not easy teams to beat. After the 13-3 shellacking the Sox gave the Blue Jays on September 9th, however, which marked Porcello’s 20th win, it might not be so hard.

If Porcello can stay focused, get the run support he needs, and keep his hat out of the washing machine, I won’t be surprised if he gets a Cy Young Award after taking the Red Sox to the World Series.

 

Red Sox Must Hold On To First Place!

For the first time since July, the Red Sox are back in first place! All these months, they’ve managed to stay in the fight. Needless to say, those teams have challenged Red Sox in many ways. They’ve faced injuries and bad pitching. Since they’ve made it this far, the Red Sox must hold on to first place if they want to stay in the race.

After an inconsistent first half, David Price has retaken control of his game. He’s 15-8Red Sox Must Hold with 201 strikeouts in a league-leading 197.2 inning as of September 8th. And what about Rick Porcello? The man leads the American League with 19 wins, well on his way to a 20 game-winning season. It won’t surprise anyone if Porcello snags a Cy Young Award. While Steven Wright remains on the DL, he’s given more this season than anyone expected him to. What’s particularly amazing is that the Red Sox won as many games with these starting pitchers, who can’t always rely on good relievers to save the game. But that’s partly because Koji Uehara went on the disabled list. Hopefully he and Craig Kimbrel can pick up the slack.

The Red Sox Must Hold Onto The Rookies, Too!

More than a few people snickered when Andrew Benintendi, and Yoan Moncada joined the team. Some thought it was too soon, including me. But they’re both great players (as long as they stay healthy). While Moncada holds his own, the question is whether Benintendi can pick up where he left off. He collected 22 hits in 68 at-bats for a .324 average before his injury sidelined him. Not bad for a 22 year old who skipped AAA.

September, always an exciting month for baseball, is giving fans a lot to cheer about, especially in the AL East. The Boston Red Sox will battle other AL teams in the homestretch, which will reveal who will go to the playoffs, and who will go home. The Red Sox must hold onto first place if they want a piece of that action. After two losing seasons, they owe it to Boston to finish strongly.

The Red Sox have to bring home another championship, but also because I already reserved my World Series tickets!

Porcello Wins His 20th Game

Friday night proved to be a great culmination for Rick Porcello’s season. Going into 2016, Porcello was one of the major question marks for the Red Sox. The answer to the question has been a season of dominance for him. That dominance has now produced a 20-win season.

Porcello shut down one of the league’s best offenses Friday night, limiting the Blue Jays toPorcello two runs and six hits in seven innings. He also struck out seven while only surrounding one walk. Backing him up, the Red Sox offense slugged their way to a dominant 13-3 win at the Rogers Centre.

The win Friday makes Porcello the first Red Sock to have a 20-win season since Josh Beckett in 2007. If Porcello can offer the same postseason dominance Beckett had in ’07, it could be the same result for the Sox; a World Championship. With the number 20 under the “win” column, Porcello should be the frontrunner for the AL Cy Young Award.

Porcello’s Cy Young Résumé

Porcello’s year has been great to say the least. While not an All-Star, he was the first pitcher in the majors this year to reach those 20 wins, including being 13-0 at home. He also adds an ERA of 3.21 and leads the majors in strikeouts-walk ratio. You can make an argument for Chris Sale or even Toronto’s J.A. Happ, but it is really tough to argue against Boston’s bona fide ace.

More importantly than the 20th win for Porcello, this was a big game for the Red Sox. In such a crucial series, this was a statement win for them. They knocked out Toronto’s #2 starter in Marco Estrada after just 2 and 2/3 innings. While squandering some chances early, the Red Sox blew the game open with a six-run seventh inning to take it from a 5-2 game to an 11-2 game. With this win, the Red Sox can not relinquish first place by the time they leave Toronto on Sunday.

With each milestone a Red Sock gets, the fate of the team still remains the key focus. Whether it is a new record for David Ortiz, Mookie Betts’ MVP-caliber season, or Rick Porcello’s Cy Young campaign, it is all about the playoff picture at this point. Given what has happened the last two years, it is refreshing that the playoffs are what the Red Sox are focusing on. However, Friday night was for Rick Porcello, who put an exclamation point on a terrific season so far.

Looking Into September For The Red Sox

New England: brace yourselves. The last few years have brought the ringing of the song “Wake Me Up When September Ends” for Red Sox fans. However, 2016 has proven to have been a much different year than Red Sox fans are (recently) used to. This is what the fan base has yearned for.

After a see-saw month of July and a bit of a sour end to August, Boston is ready for Septembermeaningful September baseball. Luckily for the Red Sox, they will have a serious confidence builder going into the month, ending August with a three-game set against the Rays at Fenway. From this point on, the push for a playoff spot is most certainly on.

The September Schedule

It is one thing to play meaningful baseball, it is quite another to play no meaningless baseball in September. From September 9th to the regular season finale on October 2nd, the Red Sox will only play within the division. Yes, that means the last 23 games of the regular season will be against the AL East. Every game this month is going to be a high-leverage one, leaving virtually no room for error. That is the scenario the Red Sox will surely be in if they get back on track.

The Red Sox and Blue Jays will square off for a three-game series in Boston from September 30th to October 2nd. The way these two teams have been playing, it seems as if the final series of the year will decide a division champion. After last place finishes three of the last four years, this is what Red Sox fans have dreamed of.

To get there, the starting pitching will need to continue to be formidable. Rick Porcello and David Price have been anchors in the rotation this  August. They will need the Eddie Rodriguez we’ve seen most of the second half, not the one we saw Sunday night. Also, the weather should cool down soon, eliminating most of Steven Wright’s excuses. If those guys can pitch well in September, the Red Sox will certainly be a tough team to beat. Also, the bullpen needs to suck just a little bit less. There can be no more of these eight-run innings in a playoff race. If they can avoid being horrendous, the Red Sox should find themselves playing after October 2nd.

So, with that said, it is time to buckle up Red Sox fans. Your team is in for a wild ride in September.