The Boston Red Sox continued their hot start to the season, taking three of four games against the Baltimore Orioles in relatively dominant fashion. The starting rotation all turned in solid outings when called upon, and the lineup mashed for most of the series. As we inch closer to being a quarter of the way through the season, each win reinforces the notion that this Red Sox team is actually good. Although they have faced a relatively easy slate of opponents so far on the season, wins are wins, and there’s a reason they stand a top the AL East right now.
The opening game of the series was a relatively uncontested victory for the Sox. Eduardo Rodriguez picked up the win, going the minimum of five innings only giving up one run. Rodriguez wasn’t on the top of his game though, as he gave up seven hits and three walks, but stayed out of trouble for the most part, which was all Boston needed. Offensively, this game was all about Bobby Dalbec. The young slugger has struggled for most of the season, but he ripped a three run homer in the fourth inning on a hanging curve from Matt Harvey that ended up being all the run support needed. Dalbec would later come around to score again on a RBI double by Marwin Gonzalez, and the Red Sox would end up winning the game by a score of 6-2.
Game 2 of the series was an offensive onslaught from Boston. The Orioles would jump out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, which the Sox would quickly erase in the next half inning with four of their own, which was only the tip of the iceberg. Boston would go onto score 11 runs by the time all was said and done, including home runs by the recently recalled Michael Chavis and Xander Bogaerts. Garrett Richards cruised through seven innings after being gifted a huge lead to work with, which was huge in giving the bullpen a much needed rest. Aside from Austin Brice making a mess of the ninth inning, there wasn’t too much drama about this one, as the Sox would roll to an 11-6 victory.
Game 3 was a much more competitive affair, but Boston still found a way to come out on top. Nick Pivetta and Dean Kremer did a solid job of limiting the damage from the opposing lineups, with Pivetta eventually picking up the win. Rafael Devers had a huge day, as he hit a solo homer and had a clutch two run double in the sixth that would give Boston the lead back. Hunter Renfroe would add a solo shot of his own in the eighth inning to give the Sox a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Adam Ottavino would give up a run in the bottom of the eighth, but Matt Barnes would come on in the ninth and shut the door on Baltimore, giving Boston a 4-3 victory.
Unfortunately, Boston couldn’t pick up the four game sweep, as they would drop the final game of the series. Martin Perez and Jorge Perez were locked in a pitchers duel for the first five innings, leading to a 1-1 heading into the sixth. Matt Andriese was brought on for the Sox, and would promptly give up three runs over his 2+ innings of relief. Phillips Valdez was able to come on and clean up the mess in bottom of the eighth, but the damage had been done. Lopez went 5.2 innings before turning it over to the bullpen, and they dominated Boston, not allowing a single baserunner over the last 3.1 innings, leading to a 4-1 defeat.
Coming off an ugly series against the Detroit Tigers, this was a really solid series for Boston. The bats continue to provide consistent run support, and the pitching staff bounced back from some rough starts in the last turn. The bullpen remains somewhat shaky, as guys like Adam Ottavino and Austin Brice just can’t seem to get guys out consistently. However, it’s been reassuring having Matt Barnes waiting in the wings for when a lead needs protection, as he has been lights out this season. The bullpen hasn’t hurt the Sox too much early on in the season, but it may need to be addressed later on down the line.
Next up, the Sox will return to Fenway Park and kick off a six game homestand with a three game series against the Oakland Athletics. The Athletics will provide Boston with their biggest challenge to date, as they lead the AL West early on in the season. In similar fashion to previous Oakland teams, they don’t necessarily have a standout player, but a bunch of really solid players throughout their roster, and they combine into a really strong team. It’ll be important for the Red Sox to bring their A game in order for them to prove they belong among the top competition in the league.
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