The Red Sox Look To Continue Their Success at Fenway Park

After an eventful road trip that saw the Red Sox go 5-2, the Red Sox look to continue their success at Fenway Park as they welcome Seattle, Colorado and Houston. The Red Sox, who enter the homestead at an even .500, are looking to keep climbing the ladder. The Red Sox look to also dethrone the Tampa Bay Rays.

However, they need to get past three teams. One is seeking revenge following thered sox look American League Championship Series. This homestead is shaping up to be quite interesting, as the Red Sox keep rolling in May.

The Seattle Mariners Come To Boston

The Mariners look to continue their success against the Red Sox. Last time the Red Sox played Seattle they won the series 3-1. Since then, Seattle is 20-20, putting them in second place in the AL West. Prior to making the trip to Boston, they played the Yankees in New York. Seattle went 1-3 in that series.

A familiar face returns to Fenway Park in Roenis Elias. He pitched for Boston in 2016 and 2017. This season, Elias is 2-0, with a 2.41 ERA. He has pitched in 16 games and has 4 saves in as many opportunities.

Another player to keep an eye on is none other than Edwin Encarnacion. He is batting .244 in 127 plate appearances with 12 home runs and 26 RBI’s. Currently, Encarnacion is eight home runs away from reaching the 400 home run mark. He is also seven away from tying Hall of Famer Al Kaline. In his 15 seasons, Encarnacion has played on four teams. He is also a three time All Star, and was a part of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

The Rockies Look To Keep Rolling At Fenway

Yes, the Rockies are coming to Fenway for the first time since 2016. When they last were at Fenway, the Red Sox won the series 2-1. Of course, many Red Sox fans remember when we played the Rockies in 2007. I believe we won a World Series that time?

Anyways, before the Rockies head to Boston, they will play the San Diego Padres at Coors Field in Denver. The Rockies, who are 17-20, look to climb out of the hole that they are in. Of course, they are a young and talented team that has proven themselves over the past few years.

During the off season, third baseman Nolan Arenado made headlines when he signed an eight year contract extension to stay in Denver. The four-time All-Star is continuing to make a name for himself. He is currently batting .322 with 10 home runs and 30 RBI’s. Since making his MLB debut, he has also won six Gold Gloves, and four Silver Slugger Awards.

Houston, We Have A Problem…

After losing in the AL Championship Series, the Houston Astros have some unfinished business. The last time the Red Sox saw the Astros, it was Game five of the ALCS. The Red Sox won that game, which led them to the World Series. Since then, the Astros have been doing pretty well. They are currently 23-15, and sit in first place in the AL West. They will be playing a series in Detroit before heading to Fenway.

One familiar name on the Houston Astros roster is Wade Miley. Red Sox fans remember Miley from his stint in a Red Sox uniform back in 2015. As a member of the Red Sox, Miley went 11-11 in 32 starts with a 4.46 ERA. So far this season, he is 3-2 with a 3.18 ERA in eight games.

Connecticut Red Sox fans look back at George Springer with warmth. The New Britain native and former UCONN Husky is coming back to Fenway Park to face his former teammate, Matt Barnes and the Boston Red Sox. Springer, who is in his sixth season, is batting .301 with 13 home runs and 33 RBI’s. He also has four stolen bases on the season. The 2017 World Series MVP is looking to continue his success in an Astros uniform.

Can The Red Sox Continue Their Success At Fenway Park?

May has been a great month for the Red Sox. After a slow April, they have gone 6-2 in May. The bats have woken up from their deep sleep. Plus, Chris Sale and the rest of the rotation look like they’re on a mission. Granted, there are injuries to key players such as Nathan Eovaldi and David Price. However, guys like Michael Chavis and Marcus Walden are proving their worth.

Let’s hope this May is the start of a giant leap. One that will hopefully lead to another championship run. Keep the faith Red Sox Nation. The boys are back!!

The Case for Matt Barnes, 2019 Closer

If we’ve learned anything about how Red Sox President of Baseball Ops Dave Dombrowski, it is that when he says he is going or not going to make a particular move, that tends to be true. On numerous occasions this off-season, Dombrowski has been quoted as saying that “major moves will be unlikely” when addressing the bullpen. With Craig Kimbrel riding the free agency pine, the franchise turns to the arms that it already has. This is the case for Matt Barnes, 2019 closer.

Barnes has shown steady improvement each season

When Barnes was taken in the first round of the MLB June Draft in 2011, the Matt Barnes, 2019 closerConnecticut was taken out of UConn as a starting pitcher. Given his pitch arsenal and powerful four seam fastball, it made more sense to the organization that Barnes move to the bullpen to help the major league squad.

Initially, upon entering the big leagues, Barnes became slightly walk prone, and has posted particularly troublesome home/road splits thus far in his career. But the numbers do not lie. Barnes has shown consistent improvement across the board in each of his three full major league seasons.

If Matt Barnes, 2019 closer is going to be a legitimate thing, then he will need to continue that upward trend he has been on. Let’s take a look at Barnes’ 2016-2018 seasons to get a feel for how he has improved:

2016: 62 G, 66.2 IP, 4.05 ERA, 62 H, 71 K, 3.72 FIP

2017: 72 G, 69.2 IP, 3.88 ERA, 57 H, 83 K, 3.33 FIP

2018: 62 G, 61.2 IP, 3.65 ERA, 47 H, 96 K, 2.71 FIP

While these numbers might not show exponential increases, the statistics prove that Barnes has risen to the occasion. Barnes even finished among the top five in SO/9.0IP among American League relievers. And remember, Barnes’ role in 2018 increased to higher leverage situations, such as the 8th inning, in most games. More often than not, he delivered.

Barnes fared well against both righties and lefties in 2018

An advantage to Barnes’ case is how well he did against hitters from both sides of the plate. He held hitters, collectively, to an OPS under .650, and most outstandingly, held right-handed hitters to a lowly .191 average. The sample size is larger against righties, and the numbers are better still. A hurler that can reverse splits and still maintain dominance is on the path to success.

Barnes performed even better in the 2018 postseason

While the big righty featured stuff above league average last season, it was the playoffs where he really shined. Through 10.1 innings, Barnes allowed just one run and struck out ten batters, all in high leverage situations against three of the best lineups baseball has to offer. Barnes bounced around anywhere from the fifth through the ninth inning, and found success at each stop. A pitcher with the moxie to fit into different roles makes the Matt Barnes, 2019 closer decision an easy one.

There are no guarantees that Cora sticks with a traditional ninth inning closer this season. There is a good chance Barnes and fellow postseason standout Ryan Brasier switch roles on a match up basis. One night Barnes might get the call, and Brasier the other. After three years of gradual improvement, one thing is clear- if Barnes gets that call, he is going to answer.