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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Has A Corner Been Turned?

Is it finally happening for the 2019 Red Sox? Are they finally starting to pull it together and be the team they should be?  For the third time this season they have won a series against a club over .500 taking two out of three from the best in the AL Twins (and wow is that odd to read).  This coming on the heels of five straight against Texas and Baltimore (the latter of which is very nearly as good as a Major League team) and the Sox are a season best six games over .500.

We have seen this before this year but the voices in the clubhouse are saying it feels like last year for the first time.  Following the games it has seemed similar from a fan’s perspective.  Little things like Marco Hernandez launching a game tying homer in Baltimore and strong work from guys like Josh Smith, Josh Taylor and relievers not named Josh is the first time it has felt like the Sox are getting the team-wide performances that made 2018 so dazzling.

The bullpen remains a concern.  There was a lack of consistency last year as well but it seemed like Alex Cora had a knack for finding the hot hand and riding it.  This year he has often found the cold hand (is that a thing?) and has not been able to get anyone on the kind of run that allows him to build a steady bullpen rotation for any length of time.

Two guys who returned from the IL recently I think can make a big difference.  Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez are not great pitchers but they are productive and reliable as back of the staff pitchers go.  Having those arms should help cover for the absence of Eovaldi and some of the bullpen depth better than the Sox have been able to so far.

Save for Tuesday’s RISP fails the offense is giving off a much more 2018 vibe.  The top to bottom production is getting a lot more consistent.  The comeback on Thursday against Texas was probably about the most encouraging game of the season.  Not only was it a great win against a good team but honestly even when they got down big early I felt like they had a chance to come back.  It reminded me of a game against the Mariners last year where Steven Wright got pounded but the Sox surged back and won comfortably.  I realize that how I feel about things is not really the greatest metric in the world but as a fan writing a fan’s blog….it matters.

A few other things;

- This thing where Jackie Bradley waits until late May to actually start hitting is annoying but since dropping to a .421 OPS on May 19 he has hit .293/.391/.606.  He won’t keep doing that but after reaching his low point last year (also on May 19) he hit .260/.333/.460.  I think that’s not an unreasonable expectation the rest of the way.

- Games with numbers; if they keep playing like they have since the 2-8 start they will finish with 92 wins.

- I’m not sure what to make of Michael Chavis.  After his big slump he has been much more productive over the past few weeks.  Some of that is being fueled by an unsustainable BABIP and the K rate remains high.  At the same time he’s showing an ability to handle the ebbs and flows of big league play in a way Will Middlebrooks never did.

- With 14 games to go before the All Star Break the Sox have twelve against sub-.500 teams; Toronto and the White Sox at home and away at Toronto and Detroit with a two game “home” series in London against the Yankees.  The White Sox are on the cusp of .500 so nothing is given (and I’ve been watching a lot of Toronto and they look better than their record).  But if the Sox are what we think they are there is no reason they can’t make some hay.

Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: June 20, 2019 at 07:29 PM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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