2019 Red Sox Week in Review: 7/8-7/21

I'm a week behind due to being incredibly busy with work and finishing up coaching my son's baseball season, but I've still been watching every minute of the Red Sox since they returned from the All Star break. This will be a bonus double version of the weekly review to make up lost ground. The Sox entered the break on a four game winning streak which concluded with a three game sweep of the Tigers, so the hope was that they could carry that momentum forward.

(7/12 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers): For one game at least, they were able to. Rafael Devers struck first with a solo homer and although the Dodgers scored a run, the Sox swelled the lead to 8-1 and gave Eduardo Rodriguez some breathing room. That was enough to secure the win against what is arguably the best team in the league. It may have been E-Rod's best pitched game of the season and it was exactly what Boston needed coming out of the break.

(7/13 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers): Unfortunately, the middle game of the series was more of what we're used to seeing from Boston in 2019: a struggling Chris Sale, an inconsistent offense, and a terrible bullpen. Things were okay until the fifth when Sale imploded and left the team in a 5-1 hole. It's now been over a year since he's won a home start and I can't escape the conclusion that something is seriously wrong with him, whether physically or mentally or both. Over the winter I had wanted them to wait until the All Star break to see where he was before they decided on extending him and this is the exact reason why. The bullpen was no better and the Sox ended up getting demolished 11-2.

(7/14 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers): The hope here was that the Sox could salvage the series finale and take two of three from LA. I had a good feeling with David Price on the mound since he's been the Sox best starter this season, but that feeling didn't last long when he gave up a three-run bomb in the first inning. Boston was losing 4-2 before Xander Bogaerts and JD Martinez hit back-to-back solo home runs in the eighth inning to tie the game. The Red Sox had runners in scoring position in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh innings but couldn't convert and it cost them when the Dodgers put up a three spot in the twelfth and won 7-4. The game (and series) was there for the taking and the Red Sox, as has been typical in 2019, just couldn't take advantage of it.

(7/15 vs. Toronto Blue Jays): With the Dodgers out of the way, the Sox had a stretch of seven games against the two worst teams in the AL East to fatten up on before they run the gauntlet of fourteen games against the Rays and Yankees to close out the month, a stretch that will absolutely determine the trajectory of their season. Boston jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning punctuated by Michael Chavis' first career grand slam and it looked like they'd set Rick Porcello up to cruise the rest of the game. Instead, he gave up four runs over the next couple of innings to make it 5-4 and the Red Sox offense had to put up another crooked number in order to provide enough of a cushion. They scored five more runs and it's a good thing they did since their pitching surrendered four more runs. Yes, the Sox ended up winning 10-8 but it shouldn't have ever been that close...what a frustrating team this is!

(7/16 vs. Toronto Blue Jays): The Blue Jays decided to flip the script in this game and after weathering Xander Bogaerts' early home run, new acquisition Andrew Cashner gave up five runs in his Red Sox debut. For good measure the bullpen gave up an additional five runs and the Jays returned the favor by blowing out the Red Sox 10-4. This was just one more in a series of games against bad teams all season that the Sox should have won to pad their record; instead they continue to come up small and squander their opportunities. I give up trying to figure out this team.

(7/17 vs. Toronto Blue Jays): Case in point, this game. Eduardo Rodriguez was his typically maddening self and while the Sox outhit the Blue Jays 14-5, they only ended up winning this game 5-4. How does that even happen? It happens when you consistently fail to convert with runners on base while giving up walks and home runs to the other team. This game always felt like the Sox were about to blow it open and yet they never did. They were lucky to escape by the skin of their teeth with a win and earn at least a series split.

(7/18 vs. Toronto Blue Jays): The combination of Chris Sale finally showing up and the Sox giving him run support bore fruit as Boston won the series and the lanky lefty's first home win in 372 days. He fanned twelve batters in six innings of shutout ball while the offense put up five (including a three-run homer from Devers). It was the easiest win of the series and a great way to wrap it up by taking three of four before heading to Baltimore.

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(7/19 at Baltimore Orioles): Maybe it makes me a bad Red Sox fan, but after hearing David Price spew more idiocy this week in reviving the stupid feud he has going on in his own head with Dennis Eckersley, he was absolutely shelled by the woebegone Orioles to the tune of six runs in four innings. It's almost as though he doesn't want Red Sox fans to like him...all that goodwill built up after what he did in the ALCS and World Series last year and he's completely wasted it. I knew it was going to be bad when he gave up a three-run homer to Anthony Santander in the first. Baltimore is well on pace to lose over a hundred games this season but that didn't stop the Red Sox from puking down the fronts of their jerseys and playing down to (or below) the level of their competition. Colten Brewer and Ryan Weber were unsurprisingly awful in relief and the Sox were blown out 11-2...what a disgrace.

(7/20 at Baltimore Orioles): In another role reversal, the Sox did the destruction in this game although it didn't look like it was going to happen early on. Once again they gave Rick Porcello an early 5-0 lead and once again he blew it by giving up five in the following two innings to make it a tie game. The Sox then teed off and ended up scoring seventeen runs (with Jackie Bradley hitting two three-run homers as the big highlight) to win this one going away 17-6. My one reservation with this game was that usually when the Sox score a big number like this, they go quiet in the next game. I always like to see them save some of the offense to spread out, but surely that wouldn't be an issue, right?

(7/21 at Baltimore Orioles): Of course it was. A day after putting up seventeen runs, the Red Sox were nearly no-hit by Asher Wojciechowski who was 0-3 coming into this game. He no-hit the Sox through six innings and only Rafael Devers' double in the seventh prevented it. Meanwhile Cashner was awful in his first start against his former team, giving up five runs including two home runs (a solo homer and a two-run blast) to Trey Mancini. It was another embarrassing loss to a terrible team. And I'm supposed to believe the Sox are going to take care of business against the Rays and Yankees starting this week?! 

Quick Hits: A 5-5 stretch coming out of the break before heading into the most critical two weeks of the season is exactly what the Sox couldn't afford, but then again I've been saying that all season and they've consistently failed to rise to the occasion. It's about the only thing they've done consistently this year. So many things went wrong over these two weeks but it's always the same: when the pitching is good, the hitting is bad or vice versa. The bullpen is always bad and lately, Alex Cora has gotten badly outmanaged in game situations. The longer this season has ground on, it's harder and harder for me to escape the thought that perhaps last season was a flukey lightning-in-a-bottle year the same way 2013 was. The 2018 squad was definitely more talented than the 2013 team, but everything else parallels '13. We're at the point now where the trajectory of the remainder of the Red Sox season comes down to these next two weeks (which also happens to coincide with the July 31st trade deadline). It's going to be interesting and unfortunately, I predict it's going to be ugly. They pretty much need to go at least 10-4 or 11-3 over this stretch in order to really get back in the race, but realistically I'm predicting a 6-8 or 5-9 showing. I hope I'm wrong, but so far this season when I've set my expectations low the Sox have not only not met them but they've gone even lower. I don't see that changing starting this week.

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Comments

  1. "It's almost as if (Price) doesn't want fans to like him". Ain't that the truth. It's also really irritating. I don't even want to care about liking him or not liking him, you know?

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    1. Exactly! I was already not his biggest fan after all of that Eck stuff in 2017 and how poorly he pitched in the playoffs, but after he was great in the ALCS and World Series (and seemed to mature) I was ready to give him another chance. Now? Forget it. He'll be like John Lackey from here on out...I hope he pitches well for the team but I can't stand the guy and can't wait until he's gone from the team.

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