Latest Red Sox homestand offers hope for winning streak

After a crucial weekend series in Tampa that resulted in a sweep, the latest Red Sox homestand presented the team an opportunity to do damage on some beatable opponents. The team remains under .500, but did start to show signs of rising up from the ashes of a losing April. Following the sweep of the Rays, optimism was abound as the fan base thought, “maybe this is when the team turns it around!” A lopsided Detroit series followed by a part of tightly contested losses to Tampa got the homestand offer to an undesirable start. A strong finish over Oakland pulled Boston back above water though. Let’s look back at the key points of each series.

Series One: Detroit (10-10), split series 2-2

  • In game one of a doubleheader, following a rainout the night before, the Red Sox Red Sox homestandhomestand started off with a strong start from Chris Sale, but a start that only saw him work five innings.
  • 2019 rising star Matthew Boyd tossed a quality start (7 IP, 3 R, 3 K) and led Detroit to a 7-4 day-game victory.
  • In game two, rookie hurlers Darwinzon Hernandez (2.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 4 K) and Travis Lakins (2.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 K) appeared out of the bullpen in impressive fashion in their major league debuts.
  • Much like in game one, the Red Sox offense had a quiet evening at the plate, losing 4-2.
  • In game three, the Sox bats broke out for the first time, powered by a balance attack that saw Rafael Devers, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Christian Vazquez drive in a pair of runs each
  • The Sox were also powered by Eduardo Rodriguez’s best start of the season to date (6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 7 K) in an 11-3 laugher.
  • In the finale, the Red Sox bat’s again showed burst, leaning on a home run from rookie Michael Chavis and a two-run double from Devers, as well as quality start from Rick Porcello in a 7-3 victory.

Series Two: Tampa Bay (18-9), lose series 0-2

  • A strong start by David Price (6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 7 K) but a poor night from the Red Sox offense in a 2-1 loss in game one.
  • In the second matchup, Chris Sale rebounded after allowing four runs in the first two innings to go seven strong. It was not enough though as the Red Sox fell to Tyler Glasnow and the Rays 5-2.
  • Charlie Morton and Glasnow both shined in their starts against Boston, allowing just three earned runs combined.
  • The loss was Sale’s fifth on the season, and he remains without a victory.

Series Three: Oakland 14-16), win series 3-0

  • With the Red Sox homestand looking like yet another setback, the team rebounded well to pound Oakland over three games.
  • In game one, another spread out offensive attack, including three RBI from Chavis and three hits from Mookie Betts, helped the Sox come back from a 4-0 deficit to claim an eventual 9-4 victory.
  • The bullpen allowed just one hit and no runs in 4.1 innings of work among the six players that appeared.
  • Game two received a gem for Porcello (8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 8 K) as Boston rose victorious 5-1.
  • Game three featured strong work out of the stable, as six relievers combined to allow three runs.

The Red Sox are in the midst of a seven-game road trip. They will play the White Sox before stopping in Baltimore.

Sox Have Yet To Win A Series At Fenway

The Red Sox began a 10-game home stand last Monday. Their record is 2-4 through six games and two rainouts. In their two wins, they scored 18 total runs. But in their four losses, they plated just 9 runs. They now sit six games below .500, at 11-17. That’s good for 7.5 games behind Tampa Bay in the division. After two losses this weekend and three series’ splits in April, the Sox have yet to win a series at Fenway this season.

Chris Sale started yesterday. He pitched 7 innings and threw 111 pitches while facing 27Sox Have Yet batters, all of which were season bests. He took the loss though to drop to 0-5 on the season. Even worse, the Red Sox have lost all six of his starts. Michael Chavis has 3 home runs since making his major league debut on April 20. He has made seven consecutive starts at second base, which is not his natural position. Chavis also made a key error yesterday in the ninth inning when Rays outfielder Guillermo Heredia hit a ground ball to shortstop. Xander Bogaerts flipped to Chavis at second and the rookie’s throw sailed over Mitch Moreland’s head at first base. Avisail Garcia scored on the play to extend Tampa Bay’s lead to three runs.

J.D. Martinez did not play in the two games against the Rays over the weekend due to back spasms. Martinez leads the team with a .340 batting average, 33 hits, and a 1.052 OPS. His presence in the lineup could have proved to be valuable against a divisional opponent, considering the Sox lost by just 4 combined runs over the weekend.

Sox have yet to get results from bottom-third of lineup

Steve Pearce was the team’s DH against the Rays, instead of Martinez, and went 0-7 with one walk and a pair of strikeouts. Pearce’s 2019 batting average shrunk to minuscule .103. His teammate, Jackie Bradley Jr., went 1-for-5 in the series with two walks. His batting average stands at .150. Both Pearce and Bradley Jr., who hit towards the bottom of the lineup, are hurting their team at the plate.

What really hurt the Red Sox yesterday was Chris Sale allowing a 2-run homer in the first inning. It put a vulnerable team in a hole early. David Price, in Saturday’s game, also allowed a home run in the first inning.

Boston’s offense was most to blame against the Rays. They put together zero multi-run innings in both games. Rays starters Charlie Morton and Tyler Glasnow each threw quality starts and Tampa Bay’s bullpen allowed just one run through 5.1 innings.

The Red Sox have yet to put together a win-streak of more than three games this season. Their winning percentage at Fenway Park sits at 42 percent. To put things into perspective, the 2012 and ’14 Red Sox finished with home records of 42 percent. We all know how those seasons turned out.

Boston starts a three-game set against the Athletics tonight to finish off the home stand. Eduardo Rodriguez toes the rubber this evening, followed by Rick Porcello tomorrow and Hector Velázquez on Wednesday.

Champs Playing Themselves Into Unfamiliar Territory

Off to their worst 25-game start since 1996, seeing the champs playing themselves into unfamiliar territory is a little more than concerning. As we know, the Red Sox have won 4 World Series championships in the last 15 years. From 1967-’82, the Sox put together 16 consecutive winning seasons, and 14 more from 1998-2011, Since the inauguration of the AL East in 1969, Boston has won the division in three consecutive seasons just once. That accomplishment came to fruition last year in 2018, as the team won AL East titles from 2016-’18. Plain and simple, the Red Sox don’t like losing.

Since 1967, which is regarded as the “Impossible Dream Team” season of the franchise,champs playing Boston’s longest stretch of consecutive losing seasons is just 3, from 1992-’94. In ’92, they went 73-89. A year later, 80-82, and 54-61 in ’94 (the lockout shortened the 1994 season to 115 games). In 2012, after the team changed managers from Terry Francona to Bobby Valentine, the team finished in last place with a 69-93 record. Through Boston’s first 25 games that season, they had 11 wins, which is one more than this year’s 10.

In 2014, a year removed from winning their 8th World Series, the Sox finished last again with a 71-91 record. The following season resulted in consecutive last place finishes in the AL East (78-84). It was the first time the Sox finished in last place in consecutive seasons in the history of the AL East.

So, can they still turn it around?

I believe they can salvage a 90-win season, but it’ll be tough. In 2010 and ’11, they started 11-14 each year. They missed the playoffs, but not by much. They reached 89 wins in ’10 and 90 wins in ’11. The Sox had a chance to make the postseason on the last day of the season in 2011, but a loss to the then last place Orioles had them ousted.

The Sox swept the Rays on the road last weekend and came home to play the Tigers on Monday, which began a 10-game home stand. Monday’s game was washed out by rain. Boston responded, discouragingly, with back-to-back losses in Tuesday’s double header. They won last night in impressive fashion, 11-4. The series finale is tonight. I believe if they win tonight, and split the series, it would be a huge win.

Champs Playing A Tough Schedule In May

They begin a tough 3-game set with Tampa Bay on Friday, where they will have to face Charlie Morton and Tyler Glasnow on the mound, again. April has clearly been a lost month for the Sox. They begin May with one game at home against the A’s. They will have to face Seattle, Colorado, Houston twice, the Indians, and the Yankees all in May. Things do not get any easier.