Drew Pomeranz Put His Big Boy Pants On Last Night Against The Best Team In Baseball
The term “measuring stick” has been thrown around a couple of times this season. Should it have been when the Red Sox took two of three from the defending World Series champion Cubs at Fenway? Was it when the first-place Yankees took two of three from Boston last week in New York? Or is it this series in Houston, as the Red Sox take on the Astros, who hold the best record in baseball?
In a way, I think they all qualify as a measuring stick of sorts. I don’t care how poorly the Cubs were playing at the time they were in Boston — those were the defending World Series champions they played. And the Yankees? Fuck a rebuild year; that team is legit as hell. But this Astros team, they’ve been steamrolling everybody and anybody this season (minus the Indians), so if you were to rank which teams are the measuring stickiest, Houston would have to be at the top.
Last night, Red Sox fans were faced with the impossible task of feeling good about Drew Pomeranz being on the mound against the second best run-producing team in the league. Regardless of how you felt going into the game, you had to have felt pretty damn good coming out of it. The big knock on Pomeranz isn’t so much that he gets shelled in his outings; it’s that he doesn’t go deep into starts. Like, ever. In the series opener against Houston, Pomeranz recorded an out in the seventh inning for just the fourth time in 26 starts since being traded to Boston. That’s 15% of the time. Again, that’s not COMPLETING seven innings; that’s just recording one single out in the seventh, which is what Pomeranz did last night.
Tip of the cap to the Dwew Tang Clan, though, because I had extremely low expectations for this start, and Pomeranz ended up taking a shutout into the seventh before he gave up his obligatory home run to make it a 1-1 game. For those keeping score at home, he’s allowed 25 home runs in his 26 starts with the Red Sox, and he’s also allowed a home run in 20 of those 26 starts. When he noticed that his pitch count was at 96 pitches, he must’ve figured that he didn’t have much time left to give up a home run before the end of his outing so he snuck one in there for traditional purposes. I always respect the hell out of people who still believe in tradition.
But all the credit in the world goes to Pomeranz, because when the Red Sox needed a big start from him, he actually delivered.
— #VoteRedSox (@RedSox) June 17, 2017
After Pomeranz had surrendered the lead on his last pitch, the two teams weren’t tied for very long. I had written earlier in the week that June is when Mookie Betts really starts to turn it on, and yeah. He’s turning it on. Since June 3, Mookie’s hitting .352 with a 1.084 OPS, 7 doubles, and now three homers. Since that date, Mookie leads the Red Sox in batting average (.352), on-base percentage (.435), slugging percentage (.648), OPS (1.084), hits (19), doubles (7), runs (12), walks (8), and total bases (35). Pretty good, kid. DANCE ON ‘EM, MOOKIE!!
Also, I’m gonna keep giving a shout out to the Red Sox bullpen while they’re continuing their run of dominance. They’re now up to 24 consecutive scoreless innings after Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel blanked the Stros after Pomeranz’s departure. Since last Sunday, Blaine Boyer, Fernando Abad, Robby Scott, Hector Velazquez, Kelly, Kimbrel, and Barnes are all sporting ERAs that are the equivalent to the number of times that Pablo Sandoval has turned down a double quarter pounder with cheese. Zero. The Yankees lost AGAIN in Oakland, so the Red Sox are now, once again, just a game back of first place. Fuck, the Red Sox really should’ve won that Chris Sale start in Philly and they’d be tied for first right now.
PS — Don’t forget!
Final score: Red Sox 2, Astros 1