On Wednesday, the Red Sox wrapped up a 5-1 homestand by sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays with a lineup that had Rafael Devers (.234 batting average, .705 OPS) batting cleanup, Eduardo Nunez batting fifth, Brock Holt batting sixth, Blake Swihart seventh, Christian Vazquez eighth and Jackie Bradley Jr. ninth. Oh, and still no Mookie Betts. The Red Sox won that game. Getaway day lineup doing big things.
And for however underwhelming that lineup appeared to be, it was actually the bottom half of the lineup that made the most noise in the series finale against Toronto. Nunez hit a homer, Swihart had a couple hits, Bradley had a couple hits, and Holt had a hit.
It was certainly nice to see the bottom of the order chip in, especially considering that Bradley has now hit safely in five straight games. There was a time not so long ago when all you had to do was feed Bradley a steady diet of fastballs up around the hands and he was back on the bench within three to five pitches tops. He’s made some adjustments to his swing, and now he’s 6 for his last 15 with two doubles and a triple.
JD Martinez continues to exceed all expectations. Maybe we just weren’t paying close enough attention to what he was doing in Detroit, or maybe too many folks were attributing his success in Arizona to hitting there prior to Chase Field using a humidor. Whatever the reason, Martinez has lived up to and far surpassed any expectations for him when he signed with the Red Sox.
His 18th home run of the season on Wednesday puts him in a three-way tie with Mike Trout and Bryce Harper for the most bombs in the majors. Per Ian Browne of MLB.com, Martinez’s 13 homers in the month of May are the most by a Red Sox hitter in a single month since David Ortiz hit 14 in July of 2006, the year he set the Red Sox single season home run record with 54. The last Red Sox hitter to blast 13 homers in the month of May was Jim Rice in 1978, the year that he won the MVP and amassed 406 total bases.
Eduardo Rodriguez has sneaky been the Red Sox best starter since his five shutout innings performance against the Yankees back on May 10. Over his last five starts since that outing, he’s got a team-leading 2.25 ERA, and his 10.61 K/9 is second to only Chris Sale’s (14.19) over that span. After holding the Jays to two earned runs over six and two thirds innings with seven strikeouts, the Red Sox improved to 4-1 over Rodriguez’s last five starts.
The Red Sox now face their tallest task of the season, as they head to Houston to take on the defending World Series champion Astros, the team with the best run differential in baseball (+123), and the team that dismissed them from the postseason last October. It’s four-game series, and the Red Sox will be getting Houston’s best in this one. They get Gerrit Cole on Friday, Justin Verlander on Saturday, and Charlie Morton on Sunday.
But before they get to the Big Three, they get Lance McCullers tonight with Drew Pomeranz (fuck) opposing him. McCullers is coming off a start where he gave up seven earned runs to the Indians, but in his seven starts prior to that, he had a 1.80 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 45 innings.
Pomeranz is barely holding on to a spot in the rotation, as he’s failed to go more than four innings in each of his last three starts. He’s got a 6.75 ERA on the season in seven starts, and opponents are hitting .346 (three fucking forty-six) against him with an OPS over a fucking thousand in his last three outings. All of the Astros’ best hitters are right-handed, so yeah. It will quite literally be a miracle if Pomeranz ends his can’t make it past the fourth inning streak on Thursday. May God have mercy on all of us.
Final score: Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 4