After A Shitty Month Of June, The Red Sox Start Off July With Back-To-Back Series Wins

Texax Rangers v Boston Red Sox

After a 10-16 month of June, the Red Sox have returned to being the offensive juggernaut that they were when they entered last month atop the American League East.

Since the calendar turned to July, the Red Sox are hitting .366 as a team with an OPS of 1.033, both of which lead the MLB. They also lead the MLB in on-base percentage (.435), hits (82), doubles (28), extra-base hits (36), and total bases (134). They’re right back to where they were before that miserable month of June. Yup. Which can only mean one thing — the pitching sucks again, too.

Out of 30 major league teams, the Red Sox are 28th in team ERA with a 6.50 ERA in July and they’ve allowed an even 8 runs per game, which is 29th worst in the MLB, which kind of makes you wonder how the hell they’re 4-2. The first thought that comes to mind is that they have the best offense in the game to counteract that ERA. But the real answer is that we’re working with a really small sample size, which was skewed by the Angels scoring 21 runs in one game against Boston. It’s really not as bad as it looks.

The Red Sox sent Steven Wright to the mound in the rubber game against the Rangers on Wednesday night, and Wright did what Wright does, shutting down Texas over the first five frames. He ran into some trouble in the sixth when he allowed a two-run bomb to Prince Fielder. Wright finished the sixth inning at 101 pitches, but was sent back out for the seventh inning. In that seventh inning, Wright allowed back-to-back singles to start the inning, before allowing a two-run triple to Ian Desmond. That was the end of the night for Wright, as Desmond later scored on an RBI base hit allowed by Tommy Layne.

This is the third start that Wright has allowed five earned runs this season, but it seems like all three of them have a “Yeah, but…” behind them. The first two were, “Yeah, but it was pouring out.” This most recent one, you could argue the side of “Yeah, but John Farrell should’ve never sent him back out for the seventh.” In hindsight, yeah, that was the wrong call. Wright would’ve put a nice little six-inning, two earned run start in the books, and the Red Sox would’ve gone on to win comfortably. However, with an 11-3 lead to start the seventh, perhaps Farrell felt that the lead was big enough to see if Wright could give the bullpen some much needed rest, especially with an off-day the next day. I understand the logic. It obviously didn’t work, but I’m not going to kill Farrell for it. I get it.

To his credit, the night after he allowed four earned runs and didn’t record an out for the first time in his major league career, Craig Kimbrel told Farrell that he wanted the ball in the ninth inning no matter what the situation was. I like that. I like it a lot. The whole next day, the talk of the town was how Kimbrel couldn’t pitch in non-save situations, how he needs to focus no matter what the situation was, and how he had to grow a sack and just pitch when the manager asked him to pitch. All of that is completely correct, and good for Kimbrel for recognizing that he needed to man the fuck up. It’s a breath of fresh air to see somebody, who had been struggling on this Red Sox team, taking the initiative to take on the challenge of facing what their biggest flaw had been. He did walk a couple of batters, but he struck out a pair and didn’t allow a hit to finish off the Rangers.

As part of a 10-hit, 11-run night, David Ortiz hammered his 20th home run of the season. He didn’t hit his 20th home run of the season until July 27 last year. According to Elias, Ortiz became one of six players in major league history to hit at least 20 home runs in 15 consecutive seasons. Ortiz joins Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Wille Mays, Barry Bonds, and Alex Rodriguez as the only players in history to accomplish that feat. He’s now on a pace to hit 39 home runs this season and drive in 133 runs. Over the last 365 days, Ortiz is hitting .331, which is third best in the MLB, with an MLB-leading 1.105 OPS and 102 extra-base hits.

Final score: Red Sox 11, Rangers 6