The Boston Red Sox offense showed some life lighting up the Cubs for five runs in the first inning winning 5 – 4
Finally. That’s the first word that comes to mind after the Red Sox hadn’t been able to do anything offensively for Chris Sale and Rick Porcello. With Drew Pomeranz on the mound, the Sox needed to score a few runs. He’s not the type of guy to go out there and pitch 7 innings of shut out baseball. Sad fact, the Red Sox scored a total of 5 runs combined in the last two starts each by Sale and Porcello. Pomeranz received 5 runs of support in the first inning alone.
Andrew Benintendi managed to find the stroke in the first inning as well. His first long ball since Opening Day. Benintendi now also leads the team with 12 RBI’s. Pomeranz pitched 6 innings allowing 2 runs on 6 hits striking out 7 on 95 pitches and picked up his team leading 2nd win on the season. Yes, that means that he has more wins than Sale and Porcello. Though it’s a small sample size, He’s got the same amount of wins as the two front line guys combined. Pomeranz is also the only starter in the Sox rotation with a winning record (2 – 1). I didn’t think we’d be saying and or seeing that before the 2017 season started.
The Red Sox started the season off by scoring in only one inning in five of the first six games. Last night was no different as the Sox managed to do all of their damage in the first inning. What looked like a blow out after a quick 5 run outburst came creeping to what could have been a blown opportunity to gain some ground in the AL East. Unfortunately, after the Orioles were on top of the Yankees 11 – 4, they came back and won it in extra innings 14 – 11. Darn. So close. The Sox are now 12 – 10 and sitting in 3rd place in the division while also being 2.5 games back of both the Orioles and Yankees.
After putting up only one run in two games against the Yankees at home, they were due. The Sox needed runs. If this stretch continued, who knows what Dave Dombrowski would have been thinking about doing. Some believe that the Sox have already pushed the panic button. Xander Bogaerts mentioned that the team is different and misses the power and leadership by their former team captain David Ortiz. We already knew the Sox were going to look different next season with Big Papi’s retirement. The Sox needed to stay positive.
The Red Sox looked like they had the fire early on, being patient and waiting on balls to be right where they wanted them. One thing that people have noticed as it’s been mentioned is, that the Sox aren’t being patient. If they wait for their pitch like they did in the first inning they can be lethal. They’re also missing home runs by just a tiny bit. Just that little adjustment has made the difference between the long ball and the fly ball. Benintendi just barely got that ball into the bullpen. Had he hit that ball just a tiny bit lower it might have been a fly out.
The Red Sox looked like they had the fire and the Cubs all but put it out after the 1st inning. The Sox in the first inning had one home run, two doubles, and three singles which ended up leading to the five runs. After the first inning, the Sox didn’t manage any extra base hits. Only singles. Two singles in the 4th, 5th, and 6th inning and just a one spot in the 8th inning. Another issue for the Sox is, that opponents know the bottom of the line up guys don’t have as much experience in the bigs and might not see a great pitch when it’s coming down the pipe.
The 8th inning was ugly as Jackie Bradley Jr. went down looking, Christian Vazquez went down swinging and it finished with Marco Hernandez swinging. Carl Edwards Jr. retired the Sox on 17 pitches. The bottom order guys in the Sox line up have got to be better at reading the pitches. While every hitter got a hit yesterday including Mitch Moreland who got his trade mark double, his 12th on the year, I don’t think anyone is going to be convinced by this offense unless they can show a lot more consistency.
For all the grief that we gave PomPom last year for his injury, he’s shown up with some above average performances. I’m not going to say great because if I said “great” then what would we call Sale’s performances? Pomeranz has quietly put together a great a season with two quality starts and two starts where he got 7 and 10 strike outs. He’s also only allowed more than two runs only once this season. His K/9 ratio has jumped from 9.3 to 11.2 and his WHIP, BB/9, and H/9 have all dropped. We’re going to keep our fingers crossed and hope that he can continue this streak up.
Assuming all goes well with David Price and his recovery process, the Sox will have Sale, Porcello, and Pomeranz continuing on their way to a strong campaign in 2017. The Sox will face off in game two of three tonight against the Cubs with former Sox pitcher John Lackey facing off against Steven Wright who is due for a good performance after a couple disasters in his last three starts. The Sox will hope to continue building on their offense from last night.
Photo Credit – Barry Chin – The Boston Globe