I think I hate these Red Sox. I mean, what the hell? They lose five straight, getting swept by the Marlins in the process, only to come out and dominate the Blue Jays. That’s baseball for you, every team has its highs and lows. Maybe it’s because of my bias, but the Red Sox don’t feel like a team that’s just mediocre. There’s talent on the roster. When they’re seeing the ball, they grind out at-bats and blow through rotations. Some combination of Whitlock, Paxton, Bello, Sale, Crawford, and Houck is a strong staff. The skeleton of a good team is there.
And yet, here we are. A .500 ballclub. The defense throws games away, the team is ravaged by injuries, and winnable games become painful losses. I know every team plays good games. Hell, even the A’s went on a seven-game win streak. I want to believe though, and games like tonight are what pull me back in. They could sell at the deadline and all of this could become moot, but if Chris Sale, Trevor Story, and Tanner Houck come back, couldn’t they make a run, sneak into the playoffs, and see what happens? I’m probably being my typical overly optimistic self, but I watched a good baseball team tonight, and I want to believe, so I am.
James Paxton (7.2 IP, 3 H, 2 BBs, 7 Ks, 110 pitches)
I want to remind everyone how good Paxton was early in his career. His career K/9 is just over ten. He doesn’t have the innings to qualify for an all-time leaderboard, but that number would slot him in 11th, just behind Pedro Martinez. There’s a reason teams kept taking chances on him when he couldn’t stay healthy. When I say I want to believe in the Red Sox, he’s a big reason why. At his best, he can go toe-to-toe with anyone in the league. Sneak into the playoffs, throw him in a series opener, and you’re giving yourself a chance. Again, I’m not saying it’s going to happen, I’m just daydreaming about if it did.
I would even go as far as to say they should trade Paxton. He’s pitching at an elite level, he’s 34, and there’s not a lot of starting pitching on the market. As much as I want this team to compete for a playoff spot, they probably won’t. The right move is to trade Paxton, get a haul, and move on to next year. But also don’t trade him and try to make a run.
Masataka Yoshida (3-4, 1 HR, 1 SB)
Yoshida is so fun when he’s seeing the ball well. For such a small guy, he really crushes the ball when he squares it up. He swiped a bag as well, for good measure.
Justin Turner (1-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI)
Turner homered in the fifth inning on the ninth pitch of his at-bat. That swing gave the Red Sox their first lead in 38 innings. At their best, the Red Sox grind out at-bats like Turner did today. Keep it up, JT.
Rafael Devers (0-4, 1 K)
Christian Arroyo (0-4, 1 K)
Not only did Devers and Arroyo combine to go 0-8 with two strikeouts, they also collided on a pop-up in the ninth inning.
My Friend, Justin
We watched this game while out at a restaurant. At one point, he turned to me and said, “Wow, the Red Sox are raking right now”. He was watching a TV showing the Reds/Padres broadcast. Clean it up, Justin.
Play of the Game
I haven’t mentioned Jarren Duran, who also played a great game. His two-run home run to the opposite field is exactly how he should be swinging. Let the ball get deep, take it the other way, and show everyone how fast you can run.