I know the Red Sox won on Sunday, and I don’t wanna kill any positive vibes, but are you fuckin’ kidding me splitting a four-game series with the Minnesota Twins?
Thursday night, the Red Sox brought the pain train in a convincing 13-2 victory over Minnesota, but from there? Not their best work. Friday night, if I told you that the Red Sox brought David Ortiz to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, with the bases loaded, and nobody out against the worst team in the league, what would you have said the odds were that the Red Sox would lose that game? Had to be less than one percent. Well, they lost that game.
But don’t worry! They had their ace going in game three! David Price’s underwhelming first season in Boston continued, as the left-hander gave up five earned runs on 11 hits in 5.2 innings. That’s the sixth time that he’s allowed at least five earned runs in a start through 21 starts. That also marks back-to-back starts in which he’s allowed 11 hits, bringing his season total up to 143, which is the most hits allowed by any pitcher in baseball.
Despite another bad outing, Price, surprisingly left this game with a lead. However, Clay Buchholz came in and did what Clay Buchholz does, allowing three earned runs in one inning of work, while Tommy Layne faced three batters, didn’t record an out, and allowed two earned runs. Why the fuck does John Farrell keep using Layne in situations when he needs a lefty reliever, instead of Robbie Ross Jr., who has the lowest opponents’ OPS (.569) on the Red Sox? Not just for relievers. Ross’s opponents OPS is better than Craig Kimbrel’s, better than Steven Wright’s, better than everybody’s on the team. Use him in more high leverage situations, John.
Don’t get me wrong — the bullpen was a disaster after Price was lifted from the game with a lead on Saturday, but that loss is completely on Price. If you send your ace to the mound against the worst team in the league, under no circumstances should you have to come get him before he’s made it through six innings, while allowing five earned runs in the process. Price has suffered some tough losses lately with the Red Sox averaging 1.3 runs in his six starts leading up to Saturday, but that loss to the Twins was no tough loss. That was just bad on Price’s part.
That brings us to Sunday, when the Red Sox sent Rick Porcello to the mound, who is unbeaten at Fenway Park this season. We’re at the point now where we almost expect mediocrity from Price, and a quality performance from Porcello. When Price allowed five runs, I kind of just rolled my eyes and thought here we go again. But when Porcello gave up five runs (four earned), I was genuinely disappointed. I like that. I like that we, as a fan base, now expect more from Porcello, because I knew that he was capable of more when he was struggling last season.
This was a game that looked like the Red Sox were going to win big when they were up 8-3 after Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia and Travis Shaw all went deep, but the Twins, who — just a reminder, are really, really bad — made this an 8-7 game. How huge has Brad Ziegler been for this Red Sox team so far? Boston acquired the right-hander at like 1:45 in the morning at the beginning of the month, and the reaction was pretty tame. Not saying that was the wrong reaction, either. Guy was a pretty good reliever out in Arizona, but he’s 36, and who knows how he’d do in the American League East?
Well, the answer to that question is that he would face 20 batters through his first six appearances and retire 18 of them. Yup. Ziegler has an ERA of 0.00, he’s allowed just one hit and walked zero. And the reason why he’s faced two batters over the minimum instead of one is because he actually stuck out a batter on Saturday, but they reached base on a wild pitch. He’s been lights out for the Red Sox, and he’s made it look really easy.
Hanley Ramirez has homered five times in his last five games, and he’s on pace to hit 22 homers and drive in 101 runs. If that were to actually happen, that would be his highest home run total since he hit 24 home runs in 2012, and it would be just the second time in his career that he’s eclipsed 100 RBIs. It’s been a weird season for Hanley, offensively. I suppose he’s on pace for a top five season in his career, but it certainly hasn’t felt like that because he’s been so streaky, and his cold streaks have been longer than his hot streaks. But his hot streaks have been RED hot, so he almost makes up for his prolonged slumps in short bursts, like the one he’s on now. Since June 23, Hanley’s hitting .346 with an 1.163 OPS, 7 doubles, 7 home runs and 20 RBI. In the 27 games prior to this run, he was hitting .186 with a .557 OPS, 3 doubles and 2 home runs.
Final score: Red Sox 8, Twins 7