We’ve got a full month of baseball under our belts, and if you still don’t know what to make of the 2019 Boston Red Sox, then join the club.
The Oakland A’s came to town after being swept over the weekend by the Toronto Blue Jays, so they haven’t been playing their best baseball as of late, but the Red Sox haven’t played their best baseball at any point this year, so I don’t wanna hear about how the Red Sox are beating up on a struggling A’s team. Wins are wins, and we’ll take any that we can get right now, especially after the way that Oakland dismissed Boston three out of four back on that miserable 11-game road trip to start the season.
Even more so when you consider how this game started, and that was with Eduardo Rodriguez getting tagged for four earned runs in the second inning. Thankfully, that was all the damage that would be done against the lefty, but the way that Boston’s offense has performed since the start of the weekend, it wasn’t the best spot to be in. Four runs by the opposing team was getting the job done and then some. So, when you’re staring at a 4-0 deficit in the second inning, optimistic thoughts aren’t very plentiful, nor should they be.
Aided by some sloppy defense on Oakland’s side, the Red Sox battled back in the bottom of the third inning and hung a six spot on the A’s, all six runs unearned thanks to an error by Jurickson Profar. The big blow came when Xander Bogaerts came to the plate with the bases loaded and one out with the Red Sox having already cut the A’s lead in half. Bogaerts drilled a two-run double out to dead center to tie the game, one of two doubles on the night for the shortstop. The Red Sox kept the party going when Michael Chavis shot a two-run base knock back up the middle to give Boston a 6-4 lead.
Literally two days ago, we were talking about Chavis and how most of his offensive contributions had come via the long ball, as he was hitting .200 after Boston’s loss on Saturday. Two hits on Sunday and two more in the series opener on Monday, and he’s up to .286 with a 1.072 OPS. The kid can flat out rake.
And for everyone who’s wondering about what the Red Sox will do if and when Dustin Pedroia is ready to return and what the veteran second baseman must be thinking about the rookie taking his spot — Pedroia has been incredibly helpful to Chavis who’s learning a completely new position at second base. Pedroia’s in his ear telling Chavis where to position himself for certain hitters and giving him pointers on his footwork. In his prime years, we couldn’t say enough about what Pedroia brought to the table. He’s still doing that now, even when he can’t be on the field contributing.
Some more notes on Pedroia — he was out there taking grounders before the game on Monday and looked really good and you couldn’t notice any physical restrictions. But my favorite note to come out of Monday on Pedroia was that he was out there early to take BP. He looked around to see if anyone was available to shag some flies while he was in the cage; nobody was. So, in typical Pedroia fashion, he took BP anyway and then went out to retrieve all of the baseballs himself. This is a former MVP we’re talking about.
Back to the game. The Red Sox added three more runs in the later innings, but none more important than Jackie Bradley Jr. sending an RBI base hit back up the middle in the seventh. I know he’s not hitting in the middle of the order, and the Red Sox don’t depend on him to carry the offense whatsoever, but we all know what he’s capable of when he’s right. He hasn’t looked right at the plate all season, but we also know that when he gets hot, nobody gets hotter than Bradley.
I’m not saying that we’re on the precipice of one of his infamous month-long hot streaks, but damn would that be nice to see right now. Again, you don’t need him to carry the offense, but it would be nice if that bottom third of the order wasn’t laced with automatic outs. Bradley picking it up changes that dynamic drastically.
On Tuesday, we’ve got Aaron Brooks versus Rick Porcello. You may remember Brooks as the pitcher who came into the 2019 season having logged two and two thirds big league innings since the start of 2015, but then blanked the Red Sox over six innings in his 2019 debut with the A’s out in Oakland.
Porcello missed that A’s series, although he got off to a piss poor start with an 11.12 ERA through his first three starts. Over his last two outings, though, the right-hander has pitched into the sixth inning in both starts, holding opposing teams to three runs or fewer. It’s not great, but it’s a lot better than what he was doing prior to that. The way the A’s have been going as of late, it would be nice to see Porcello continue to trend upward.
Final score: Red Sox 9, A’s 4