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What To Make Of The Red Sox Losing Three Of Four To The Astros

Bob Levey. Getty Images.

Okay, so that series didn't go according to plan. The first thing I'm gonna ask you to do is take a deep breath.

Am I disappointed? Of course. That was a measuring stick series of sorts. The Astros are a really good team and came really close to being the American League representative in the World Series last October. They're also a game out of first place in the AL West at the moment. If you take a look around the league right now, there aren't very many good teams. There are a lot of bad teams and a lot of mediocre teams. When one of those good teams pops up on the schedule, it's important to show up and show out and the Red Sox did not do that. At least, the offense didn't.

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In the first three games of the series, all losses for Boston, Rafael Devers, JD Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, Danny Santana, Kiké Hernandez and Marwin Gonzalez were a combined 4-for-57 (.070) with 22 strikeouts. All four hits were singles. That's not gonna get it done. Eduardo Rodriguez was not sharp once again in the series opener, as his ERA has now crept up to a season high 5.64. The lefty lasted just four and two thirds and Rodriguez finished the month of May failing to pitch more than five innings in all but one start with a 7.28 ERA in six starts. They've gotta get him right and they've gotta do it quickly.

Boston got their doors blown off in the first game, hung in until the end in the second game, lost a tough one on Wednesday, and then finally grabbed a win in the finale. We already highlighted the key Boston bats who went cold in the first three games, but in the last three games, Red Sox starters were certainly not to blame. In the final three games of the series, Garrett Richards, Nick Pivetta and Martin Perez combined for a 1.83 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 19.2 innings. Perez was the one who shined the brightest, exiting Thursday's game after seven and two thirds scoreless innings at just 82 pitches. By the way, Perez has a 1.98 ERA over his last seven starts. He's got the eighth best ERA in the majors since April 29.

And I don't care what the numbers say. I have no idea why Perez wasn't allowed to finish that game or at least go until he gave the Red Sox a reason to give him the hook. Alex Cora got the boot in this one, so who knows if he was still calling the shots from the clubhouse or not, but that was Perez's game until it wasn't. I'd imagine AC lets him ride. He was visibly displeased about getting lifted, and I'm not sure anyone could blame him. Bottom line is that the Red Sox still got the win, and we got to see the return of Brandon Workman as a result of that, who did allow a homer to break up the shutout.

Here's what I'm taking out of this series -- they're two evenly matched teams. The Red Sox can hang with the Astros, despite losing three of four. One of the losses was a 2-1 nail-biter. Of course, you're gonna tip your cap to the Astros pitchers. It's not like the Red Sox lineup got worked by a handful of slop-throwers. They're good, too. But Houston caught Boston at the right time. When else this entire season have you seen Devers, Martinez and Bogaerts slump at the same time? It's incredibly rare. So at the very least, the Red Sox are a team that can roll the dice in a series with Houston. The starting pitching outside of Rodriguez was outstanding. Once the big bats in the Red Sox lineup snap out of their funk, I like the Red Sox' chances the next time the Astros come to town. I do.

But I don't want it to be understated how important it is to get Rodriguez right. I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- the Red Sox, without Chris Sale, do not have an ace. What they have are a rotation of guys who give you a chance to win just about every time out. That's not a true statement with Rodriguez going the way that he has. The offense isn't going to slump as hard as they did in this series. They're one of the best in baseball at what they do, and they will be racking up runs again before you know it.

You've just gotta acknowledge that the Astros were better than you this time around and walk away from it knowing that you were incredibly close to splitting a series on the road with these guys when your offense was giving you next to nothing. I know it's a silver lining, but I still feel pretty good about that.

Now, bring on the Yankees.