The Oakland A’s come in to town tomorrow for a 3 game series, giving the Sox the 3rd non-playoff team in a row to go up against. In fact…. they will not face a team that’s heading to the playoffs until the Houston Astros come to Fenway on Thursday September 28. Favor is on Boston’s side to scrounge up these wins, as they fight back against the Yankees to hold onto 1st place.
Still 19 games left, the magic number to take division is currently 17. The Yankees are right now taking a “long” journey to play the neutral series at Citi Field to play the Rays.
On to the Athletics, whose standings are literally a 180 of the Sox’s record, theirs is 63-80. But there is a Jekyll & Hyde effect. They are a FORCE at home, 42-33 record, including just finishing off a four game sweep of the Houston Astros. As for the road, a flat out abysmal 21-47 record. Most of the pitching staff woes have come on the road, ERA away from Oakland is sitting at 5.04. Silver lining for A’s fans, there are 8 teams that are worse on the road than them.
The big bat in their lineup that we want the Sox to treat like they have done to Aaron Judge (.151 avg in 73 ABs), is Khris Davis. Albeit with his .242 avg and 185 Ks, still has had a season that Sox batters have been lacking. 39 HRs, 101 RBIs. Unless some big games break out by individual players, we will not see a single Sox hitter reach the marks of 100 RBIs or even 30 HRs. This was last done 5 years ago during the Bobby Valentine short lived Era, and season that Ortiz went down with an Achilles injury. The HR leader was Jared Saltalamacchia, with 25. The RBI leader was Adrian Gonzalez with 86, before he took a private jet to Los Angeles to become a Dodger.
We are remaining hopeful that Eduardo Nunez is able to return to the lineup promptly. He may be able to get some assistance with today being a day off for the team. Nunez has a brief 4 game hitting streak going on right now, 8 for his last 18. The Sox dearly need his presence in the lineup.
Xander Bogaerts is looking like a lost cause, and it’s almost certain that Nunez SHOULD be the starting shortstop in the playoffs. After Bogaerts going 0 for 4 in the leadoff spot…. (Leadoff???)… he’s now batting an even .200 since the All Star Break.
With his 2nd half woes (not including 2015), this should be something to monitor in the offseason.
The Red Sox, with their superior pitching staff, stands a good chance to at least take 2 out of 3 games. Eduardo Rodriguez in his most recent start had pitched 6 solid innings, allowing only 2 runs vs the Blue Jays. He didn’t get the win though, the game ended hours after he departed…19 innings to be exact. Doug Fister, the surging expected #3 playoff starter toes the rubber for the second game. Drew Pomeranz will close things for game 3, in hopes that he will be looking to finish off a sweep of the pesky A’s.
Tomorrow during the start of the game, we will be seeing clips of Rajai Davis reuniting with his former teammates before the start of the game. No matter team it is or what player, I always love seeing that. The camaraderie that is present when part of a team, and even after you leave said team.