Sunday, July 14, 2013

Day 105: Red Sox Lead in AL East Slim Heading into Break

Today's game was an important one for the Red Sox. It would be the difference between finishing the west coast swing at .500 or at 6-4, taking two of the three series. And it would be the difference between heading into the All-Star break 2.5 games or 3.5 games up on the Tampa Bay Rays (who, by the way, have gone 9-1 in their last 10 games and are starting to scare me just a little bit.)

Well... the outcome was not good. After no-hitting the Oakland A's for six innings, Brandon Workman had a bit of trouble in the seventh giving up a game-tying two run homer. The Sox had a chance to go ahead in the top of the 11th but squandered a bases loaded situation and the A's took advantage and put the game away in bottom of that inning.

So basically the west coast was not especially kind of the boys of Boston. The Angels and the A's both took two of the three games. Only the Mariners weren't much of a challenge and the Sox took advantage scoring 34 runs, winning three of the four games.

As we head into the break, there are a few things to be concerned about—the major issue being the pitching staff. Clay Buchholz needs to get better and back into the form that got him to 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA before going out with a neck issue. Jon Lester... what the hell, Lester? By the middle of May he was 6-0 and now he's 8-6 which means he's won just two games since mid-May. Not good.

Felix Doubront is 6-3 and has won his last two decisions. He's a solid spot in the rotation but he only has nine decisions in 17 games. That's a hell of a lot of no decisions. John Lackey has picked up quite a bit of slack since Lester started sucking. Since mid-May, Lackey is 6-2 giving up four runs or less in each of those starts. And I can't even bring myself to look at Ryan Dempster's stats...

The Red Sox just picked up some bullpen help after Andrew Miller's injury turned out to be season-ending. Matt Thornton, formerly a Chicago White Sox reliever, joined the Red Sox over the weekend to add some lefty help to the pen. Thornton had a 3.86 ERA in 40 appearances with Chicago. Hopefully today's performance was not a sign of what's to come as he took the loss.

Ok... so we've got four days of rest before the season resumes this Friday against the Yankees. Let's hope they take advantage and come back recharged and raring to go.

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