Coming off a series loss to the Orioles, the Red Sox looked to get back on track against the Blue Jays. By splitting the four game set, the Sox proved once again that while the offense is very capable, the pitching staff is erratic. However, impressive outings from Christian Vazquez, Clay Buchholz, and Rick Porcello give hope for success going forward.
- Before the season, many experts predicted that the Jays would have one of the most productive offenses in all of baseball. While this has proved to be true, the Red Sox have established an equally potent group of hitters. In the four game series, Travis Shaw, Hanley Ramirez, and Dustin Pedroia led the charge against Toronto pitching, going 13/41 (.317) as a whole.
- Steven Wright is turning into one of the more reliable pitchers in the rotation. Even though he got slapped with another loss, his line (6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 6 SO) was solid. The prospect of another great knuckler in Boston is pretty damn sweet.
- Buchholz continues to be be the definition of unpredictable. He threw a gem on Monday, going six innings deep and allowing only six hits with no earned runs. The Sox hitters couldn’t get the job done, but hopefully this is a Buchholz we will see on a more consistent basis.
- Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel both had trouble finding the strike zone on Monday, combining for three walks and two hits in one inning’s worth of outs. This shouldn’t be taken too seriously, as Koji was working on limited rest and Kimbrel had to come in a non-closer situation. Closers are like hockey goalies, in the sense that they have a very mentally taxing and stressful position, and both professions require incredible consistency and regularity. Kimbrel, coming into the game with the bases already loaded, was at an immediate disadvantage.
- Don’t look now, but Porcello has only let up four home runs in two games. His effective outing on Friday (6 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 8 SO) was top-of-the-rotation material. It is truly amazing how many dingers he gives up, but if he can keep turning in quality starts, I’ll take it.
- Vazquez finally made his return to the lineup on Friday, and was an immediate positive. He went 2/4 with two very well hit balls to left field, and showed his usual defensive pop, picking off Troy Tulowitzki at first. He made a few small errors on Monday, but it’s easier to work on small mistakes than it is to get handle on the bigger and more complex aspects of the game that he already has a grip on.
- Papi’s strikeout on Monday was BS. I don’t care that it was maybe a borderline strike, but it’s the 9th inning on Patriots Day. C’mon blue.
- The Red Sox are 4-3 against the Blue Jays so far this season, and should consider that a success. They’ll keep it in the AL East by playing the Rays next, and will hopefully find an easier time closing out games. This will be a good series to start making moves in the standings with second place Toronto heading to first place Baltimore next. Both teams will certainly be relevant in the early fall, so it’s always a good idea to get some breathing room early.