Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Back Home, Still 2 1/2 Back In Third

The Red Sox left Fenway over a week and a half ago having been swept by the Detroit Tigers, ending a losing home stand. They went out on the road and needed a winning road trip with 11 games on the West Coast.

They didn't get it.

The Sox lost no ground since the Detroit sweep, as they are still 2 1/2 games back in third place in the AL East. That's because neither the Orioles or Blue Jays were great over their past eleven games either. They went 5-6 on the trip, and had their "ace" David Price pitch three times, and came away with no wins.

He was sparkling in first start in Anaheim, going eight shutout innings. But the pen and defense melted down in the ninth, and it was a brutal loss. In Seattle, Price was excellent for seven innings, but he was clearly done in the eighth, as John Farrell left him in way too long, and the Mariners rallied for five runs and won. Another awful loss.

But the road trip finale was telling. The Sox were 5-5 and a win would have made it a winning trip and the team feeling better about things. The Dodgers sent a very erratic Brandon McCarthy to mound, and he was literally all over the place, hitting two batters and throwing pitches to the backstop. But once again, the Red Sox offense couldn't capitalize, scoring just two runs off him. Meanwhile, Price cruised through the first three innings. But he became unglued in the fourth and fifth innings, and the Dodgers scored six runs. Granted, the Sox made two critical errors that made three of the runs unearned. LA went on to an 8-5 win.

Price continues to disappoint. He sure isn't pitching like an ace. He sure isn't a stopper either.  Price is 1-5 in games when he takes the hill after a loss. (Consider that Rick Porcello is 7-1 and Steven Wright is 6-1 after a Red Sox loss.)

But also the offense disappeared on this western trip. Jackie Bradley, David Ortiz and Xander Bogaerts especially struggled throughout the 11 games. In six of the eleven they scored just three runs or less.

As we stand this morning, the Sox are 60-50, 2 1/2 games back in third place. Hardly out of it, but they gained no ground out west. This week they play New York and Arizona at home, two teams that are pretty much playing out the schedule right now. This is where the Sox have to put it together and win at least 4 or 5 of these games. Starting next week, The Sox have an even more difficult road trip than the one they just completed. They open with a makeup game in Cleveland, and then head to Baltimore, Detroit and Tampa Bay. And they have no off days on this swing.

Another 11-game trip. We'll see where they stand on August 25th when it concludes.

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