Boston Red Sox split series with Toronto Blue Jays, remain atop the AL East

The Boston Red Sox split a two game mini series with their AL East rivals, the Toronto Blue Jays. Coming off of a split series with the Chicago White Sox, the Red Sox were certainly hoping that they would be able to take back-to-back games against a team that has had a relatively disappointing start to the season. Although the team is now just 3-4 after their piping hot start, their competitiveness against every team they’ve played proves that they have the elements of a winning team, both tangible and intangible. At the beginning of the season if someone had told a Red Sox fan that they would be 12-7 through the first 19 games, not a single person would be disappointed. 

Tuesday night marked the first time Eduardo Rodriguez started a game at Fenway Park since the 2019 season. Rodriguez hasn’t had a terrific start this season, but he has given the Red Sox a chance to win every game he has pitched in. It was no different Tuesday night as he went 6 innings, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits with 6 strikeouts and a walk. Had this been last season when the Red Sox bullpen was depleted and weak, 3 innings would have been a tall task for the relievers, but with a revamped pen this year, the Red Sox will take 6 solid innings from their starter every night. Matt Andriese, Adam Ottavino, and Matt Barnes each completed shutout innings to propel the team to victory. This is a perfect formula for the Red Sox pitching staff, as it is efficient and keeps all the pitchers from throwing too much. 

The offense wasn’t booming Tuesday night, but just like the pitching, it got the job done for the Sox to be able to get the win. The majority of the damage done for the Red Sox came on one swing from Xander Bogaerts, who hit a 3-run homer in the bottom of the 4th inning. Bogaerts has been not only one of the best fielding shortstops in the league as he usually is, but has also been a force with the bat, as he is now hitting .385 through the first month of the season. Bobby Dalbec also hit an RBI triple for added insurance, as the Red Sox cruised to a 4-2 victory.

Wednesday night, the Red Sox were killed by poor pitching from their starting pitcher Garrett Richards. Richards was all over the place, showing an inability to throw strikes with 6 walks in 4 and two/thirds innings pitched. His command was nonexistent as he was not just missing the zone by half an inch and getting squeezed by the umpire, he was throwing fastballs at the height of batters heads, and spiking curves and offspeed pitches before they reached home plate. Richards gave up 4 runs through just under 5 innings and put the team in an early hole. Richards has been overwhelmingly disappointing in his first 3 starts as a member of the Red Sox, and he will certainly need to improve as the season goes on, as the team needs all the help at starting pitching they can get. 

The offense wasn’t great again, but they did fight their way back into the game, getting within a run in the 8th inning. Although they eventually dropped the game, the Red Sox once again proved that they are an enjoyable team to watch. Previous Red Sox teams would have just laid down and let the Blue Jays run away with the game, but this team has an overall personality, and the drive to be a competitive and exciting baseball team. This is going to be a season in which the Red Sox have the opportunity to make some noise in the American League, and as long as they keep up the energy they’ve shown so far, they are on the right track.

Next up for the Sox is the 11-7 Seattle Mariners, who currently sit at second place in the AL West. As telling as the series with Minnesota was, the next 4 games against the Mariners will go a long way in showing what kind of team we have here in Boston this spring.

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