Opening Day at Fenway

Monday, July 06, 2015

Is That Light I See Ahead In This Tunnel?

Well, all of a sudden, guess who the hottest team in the AL East is?

Yes, your Boston Red Sox.

The Sox took 2 of 3 from the AL West-leading Houston Astros at Fenway this past weekend. (Easily could have been a sweep if not for some bad base running and some questionable bullpen moves.) They've won three consecutive series, and 12 of their last 19 games. They are averaging 5.5 runs per game over that 19-game stretch, best in MLB.

Granted, the division is not strong at all. I wouldn't get too overly excited just yet. The Red Sox still trail New York by 6 games, and fourth place Toronto by four games. But no one ahead of them is hot right now, and no one appears ready to pull away from the pack.

But the signs are pointing in the right direction. The Sox have just five games left before the All-Star break: 2 with Miami and three with New York, all at Fenway.

BTW, a really odd thing happened yesterday. As David Ortiz played first base in an AL game for the first time since 2006 (Mike Napoli is THAT bad at the plate right now), not one putout was recorded at first base, the first time ever in team history that has happened.

And on the subject of Papi at first base, I don't think it's a bad thing to see him at first base a little more often. It allows Hanley Ramirez to DH, as he is no stellar outfielder. But Ortiz is not the butcher at first base he's made out to be. The last time he made an error at first was in 2009. (Granted that is only 28 regular season games since 2010, and doesn't include the World Series games he's played in, which he actually played flawless defense.) Sure, he's no Gold Glover by any stretch of the imagination, but putting him there once in a while might help. He would be exposed if he played first regularly. But Hanley Ramirez in left scares me a lot more.

Yes, put Papi on first base, and no one wants to throw the ball to him. Very odd.

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