The Red Sox handled the struggling Braves in impressive fashion, going 3-1 on the dual stadium series. If not for Clay Buchholz’ weak start, the Sox might’ve swept the series; keeping their five game winning streak alive. In the set, Steven Wright solidified himself as a legitimate front-end rotation pitcher, while Rick Porcello and David Price were able to hush the haters with strong performances. As for the offense, Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts, Travis Shaw, and Hanley Ramirez were able all able to put in huge contributions to continue this remarkable offense.
- Wright has been pitching insane lately. In his last three starts, he’s gone 6, 6.2, and 7 IP, while only giving up three earned runs. In those games, Wright struck out 20 batters, which goes to show how much his pitches move. However, Wright has an extremely low spin rate on his knuckleballs (163 rpm. vs. the 334 rpm league average). This could be one reason for his surprising success. He has not shown any glaring weakness, even when paired against high intensity offenses such as Toronto (6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 6 SO), or Houston (6.2 IP, 4 H, 6 SO). Steven, please keep balling.
- Porcello and Price both turned in monster performances. Slick Ricky went 6.1 innings deep while allowing zero runs, and managed to strike out 6 batters along the way. In his last three starts, Porcello has played to his absurd contract, averaging just less than 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, and 7 SO. On Tuesday, Price tied his career amount of strikeouts in a single game with 14. He went 8 frames deep and walked 2 batters, which lead to 2 earned runs, but there was no questioning Price’s dominance. Besides from that recent blunder with Tampa Bay, Price has given very little validity to the thought that he won’t pan out to be as great as he was thought to be.
- Gotta give a little love to the bullpen. In the last week, they’ve (Heath Hembree, Craig Kimbrel, Tommy Layne, Matt Barnes, Robbie Ross Jr., Koji Uehara) combined for 10 hits and 21 strikeouts. Although they’ve been used way more than expected recently, the bullpen has stepped up and kept the Sox in close games.
- The Red Sox offense is cementing itself as one of the most powerful in the whole MLB. The entire lineup, led by Pedroia (4 hits, 2 HR, 5 RBIs against Atlanta), has shown consistent performance. Although the Braves are undoubtedly the worst team in the league, the Red Sox still impressed with an average of 10 hits, 3 doubles, 1 home run, and just under 6 runs per game during the series. The “meat” (Pedroia, Betts, Xander Bogarts, David Ortiz, Hanley, Shaw) of the order has been hitting tremendously as of late, with Hanley having the 4th most hits of any first basemen, Pedroia having the most of any second basemen, Shaw having 5th most amongst third basemen, Bogaerts with the 4th most hits of any shortstop, Betts with 4th most amongst right fielders, and Ortiz with the most amongst designated hitters.
- Jackie Bradley Jr. continued to defy gravity with this absurd catch on Wednesday. Similarly, Christian Vazquez continues to mow runners down left and right, with two thrown out in the series.
- I can’t get enough of this “this” Red Sox team. If we can assume that Buchholz will turn out a gem every third outing, and that his other two will be average-to-subpar, I’ll take it. This offense shows no signs of slowing down, and, thanks to some elongated starting pitching outings; the bullpen has been getting some much-needed rest. The Sox will play the Yankees next, and hopefully be able to provide some more separation in the standings.
PS: Guess who still has 0 errors on the season?