There is no let-up in the 2018 Boston Red Sox. They are built to last.
The past 10 days or so has been the most convincing stretch yet that the Sox are serious threats to go nearly wire-to-wire as the best team in MLB - as heading into Sunday’s series finale at Kansas City, the Sox owned the best record in baseball at 61-29.
The only real blemish since June 30 was an 11-1 blowout loss to the Yankees in the Bronx on Sunday Night Baseball. In that game the Sox were lit up, 11-1, as David Price was shelled for eight earned runs on nine hits in a pathetic 3.1 innings of work.
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Price was nearly as bad this past Saturday night against lowly Kansas City as he allowed four earned runs on six hits in just 4.2 innings on the mound. This time, however, the Red Sox bats bailed him out big time – putting a season-high 15 runs on the board in a 15-4 blowout victory.
“I put us in a hole early,” Price told the AP. “We bounced back in the fifth inning with that four spot then to give up the lead the way I did, not to be able to get through five innings, that’s tough. I’m struggling right now, searching so that’s a big win for us to be able to come back the way we did.”
What’s great for Red Sox fans right now is that this team likely doesn’t even need Price in order to accomplish its goals for the rest of the summer and into the fall. It would be a cherry on the Sunday for Price to start to pitch again like he was a month ago – but it doesn’t seem entirely necessary at the moment.
This team is proving to be that good.
The Sox already have scored 482 runs on the year, which is the best mark in MLB (Houston is second with 470). That number is even more impressive when you consider that the Sox scored 785 runs all of last season, which was good for 10th in MLB – and we’re not even officially half way through this season.
Pitching-wise, there is room for improvement – but overall there is not much to bitch about. The Sox are seventh in baseball in team ERA at 3.57. Chris Sale (9-4, 2.36 ERA), Rick Porcello (10-3, 3.57 ERA) and Eduardo Rodriguez (10-3, 3.84 ERA) have more than made up for the multiple ugly outings of Price and Drew Pomeranz this year. Craig Kimbrel, who has the second most saves in MLB with 26, has been tremendous – as has Matt Barnes, who is enjoying by far his best season to date with 18 holds already and a 2.39 ERA.
Expect Dave Dombrowski to add an arm or two to the pitching staff in the next three weeks, but we are certainly in “tinkering mode.” Joe Kelly has more than earned Alex Cora’s trust this season as a reliever, and Heath Hembree, Brandon Workman and the returning Tyler Thornburg are more than capable options.
Home sweet home
The Red Sox will play their first game back at Fenway since June 28 tonight against the Rangers (7, NESN). Rodriguez is slated to get the ball for the Sox and Texas will counter with Mike Minor (6-4, 4.63 ERA).
Following three games against the Rangers, the Sox will welcome the Blue Jays to town for four games starting Thursday. The series against Toronto will conclude the first half of the season for the Sox as the MLB All-Star break begins next Monday.