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Quick-hit thoughts as September gets underway

Some good things happened for the Red Sox this past week, but a lot of it was not that good.

Boston Red Sox v Chicago White Sox Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

What more can you say when the Red Sox only win two of four against one of the worst teams in baseball, and they get shutout in the series finale by a pitcher with a 5-15 record and a 4.54 ERA?

All that can really be said is that this team needs Chris Sale back. When he’s not in the rotation, the Red Sox feel like a totally different team.

This past week has been interesting, to say the least. A few parts of it were good, like Eduardo Rodriguez making his return, but a large portion of this week was not very good at all. So instead of cluttering together several paragraphs filled with confusing nonsense, I’m going to organize my thoughts into a “Quick-Hits” column.

Hopefully I sound coherent…

1. Last Tuesday’s game against the Marlins was arguably the most embarrassing game the Red Sox have played all year, and they somehow still won. The Sox led 4-1 in the eighth before their nightmare of a bullpen gave up five runs.

Boston battled back to retake the lead in the bottom frame, but then Craig Kimbrel — the closer who was once always reliable, but has since become unrecognizable — blew the save. The Red Sox then won the game in the bottom of the ninth thanks to a Marlins throwing error, which was fitting: they couldn’t win the game on their own, so Miami had to give it to them.

In years of being a Red Sox fan, I had never been so conflicted after a win. I was very happy that they came away with the win, I would just prefer to have that particular win wiped from my memory.

2. It was genuinely unnerving when David Price got drilled by a line drive in Wednesday’s game. Not only does the thought of getting hit in the wrist by a baseball that was hit off the bat of a Major League hitter terrify me to my very core, but the thought of losing Price from this rotation was equally scary.

Why? In his previous seven starts, Price was 5-0 with an ERA of 1.50. Those are Chris Sale-like numbers. The last thing we needed was both Sale AND Price on the DL.

Which brings me to my next point …

3. Both Sale and Price are expected to return to the rotation for the upcoming home stand at Fenway Park, as soon as the Red Sox wrap up their three-game set in Atlanta, and I could not thank the baseball gods enough for that. This rotation is kind of a mess right now (which is an understatement), but having both of the aces back in the thick of things should solve some of those problems.

4. How about Eduardo Rodriguez, eh? He missed more than a month after he took a tumble at first base in July and injured his ankle, but then made his return on Saturday against the White Sox and pitched 5.2 innings, allowed just one run on three hits and struck out 12 hitters — that’s right, he channeled his inner Chris Sale.

Losing Rodriguez in July was brutal because he was having such an incredible season, and at the time, was the most reliable Red Sox starter other than Sale. When he went to the DL, he was 11-3 with an ERA of less than four.

When he returned on Saturday, he picked up right where he left off. It was absolutely wonderful to see. And yes, I re-added him to my fantasy team before that game.

5. Sunday was just plain bad. Brian Johnson, who is a relief pitcher at heart, got the start and didn’t make it out of the second inning. Johnson has usually been somewhat respectable during the starts he’s made this year, but he’s rarely been this awful.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox couldn’t score runs and were completely shut down by James Shields, who isn’t really that good anymore. His ERA of 4.54 heading into the game doesn’t scream terrible, but his record of 5-15 does. But the Red Sox couldn’t figure him out, so he must still have something left.

Overall, it was a very disheartening game, and I have no idea what to expect heading into this Atlanta series.

Cheers to another week of Red Sox baseball.