The Sox improved to 8-1 with an 8th inning comeback Sunday to sweep the Rays and win despite the poorest pitching performance by a starter so far this season. E-Rod gave up 3 runs in 3 innings pitched and the bullpen then proceeded to give up 4 more as the Sox struggled to win this one. They scored 6 in the bottom of the 8th, however, including 5 runs scored with 2 out. It was the best offensive output so far to go along with the most runs given up in 9 innings. The final was 8-7.
So, the team did about as well as can be expected against the two teams they have played so far. Both teams are not expected to do well, but they were bound to lose one even to lesser teams. The real test of the squad will come tonight when they take on the 5-5 Yankees. Conditions won’t be great as the temps will be around freezing, but we will have Sale on the mound. Let’s hope he can perform well despite the cold. If so, we stand a good chance of winning out 9th straight.
We are about where we want to be at this point with the real season beginning now as we begin to play some better teams. Unfortunately we will have to do so without our hottest hitter so far, Xander Bogaerts. He was injured yesterday when he kept an errant ball from going into the dugout and prevented the 8th run for the Rays from crossing the plate. He was placed on the 10 day DL with a left ankle injury that hopefully won’t keep him out too long. That was just what he needed (and us) as he has been doing so well in what could be a bounce back season after a hand injury kept him down last year. Let’s hope his present injury doesn’t ruin this season for him as well.
Pedroia may be back soon. He can surely do a better job at second than Nunez and perhaps hit the ball better as well, He has been the heart and soul of the team for years, so it will be great to have him back. It will be interesting to see what happens to Nunez, but if Bogaerts can’t play again soon there may be room for him at shortstop, I guess. I would hate to see that, but we can get by without the slugger if we have to.
I am still waiting for Martinez to step up and help the team as much as the hype surrounding him suggested he would. He did hit his first homer the other day, but we are expecting great things from him, not striking out when we needed mucho runs late in the game as he did yesterday. We will have to wait and see what happens.
I hope Ramirez continues to hit the way he has so far and that he has a great season. He has helped the team win on more than one occasion already so we can only hope it continues. Mookie is hitting pretty well right now and Benintendi shows some signs of getting going with the bat. We may be alright without Bogaerts in the short-term, but we definitely need him to return to what he has done so far in the long-term. The sooner we get him back the better. There is really no one to replace his bat.
Let’s hope the pitching can live up to facing some of the best hitters in baseball as we move forward. They have not really been tested yet but will be soon. If they can continue to do well remains to be seen. The bullpen is probably the biggest question mark. We need Smith to get it together as he has not looked good yet so far. They rest of them may not hold up too well either when they are actually put to the test. Starting pitching may do just fine, but we will have to see how the pen will hold up.
So, we are off to a good start, but no better than expected, really. We should be ready to move forward, so bring on the big hitters and we’ll show them it was not just the schedule that resulted in the 8-1 start. We can and hopefully will continue to win games as the season progresses. Time will tell, but let the real test begin. I only wish Bogaerts were able to play as we move forward. We will need him to get better soon. Anyway, Go Sox!