Here we are with 7 games left of the regular season. The Sox are one of the hottest teams in baseball, cruising at the right time. They have won 6 games in a row, going a solid 8-1 on their last road trip of the season. With the Blue Jays lending a helping hand by taking 2 of 3 vs NY, the lead is now 5 games with the Magic Number at 3. If all goes well accordingly tomorrow, we can revel in seeing the Sox uncorking the champagne bottles & goggles on.
We can all agree that we would rather see a celebration following a win, as opposed to a loss in the Bronx.
The Red Sox would like nothing more than to take care of the division title over the next 3 days. This would set them up, for when the Astros arrive on Thursday, to rest guys and setting up the rotation. The first two starters of the series are Pomeranz and Sale. With Sale, it’ll be interesting to see what they do to get him ready for game 1 of the ALDS. His last start is projected to be on Sunday September 30th. Which is 4 days before the ALDS would start up. Preferably if Sox were to get big lead tomorrow, they could reason with Sale that he would only be out there for 5 or 6 innings. Then perhaps throw a short simulated game on Sunday.
These last place Blue Jays are sitting at 73-83. Tampa, Baltimore and Toronto are all close record wise, so no definite of who will be in the 3, 4, 5 spots in standings to end the year at. As we saw with this past series vs NY, don’t let their record fool you. Yes they will be playing golf in October. But they’re (pun intended) going out swinging before they do. Kendrys Morales is just 3 HRs away from 30. That would give them 3 players on their roster to accomplish that. The others being former MVP Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak, who is having quite the breakout year. He is 2 HRs, 11 RBIs away from reaching 40/100.
The Sox’ bats luck out on missing the best starter on Toronto’s staff, Marcus Stroman. His ERA is sitting at a cool 3.06 and is closing in on going over the 200 inning threshold. They do contend with JA Happ tomorrow as he matches up vs Chris Sale. Toronto’s bullpen is ranked 9th in the AL. The Sox are 2nd, right behind naturally the Cleveland Indians. Any idea who is ranked 10th? That would be the Houston Astros. Their bullpen has an ERA of 4.43. This is an issue that has me a hard time believing they will advance far in the playoffs. When it got to the trading deadline, the only acquisition they made for the bullpen was Francisco Liriano. In 18 appearances he has given them a 4.85 ERA, 1.69 WHIP and opp avg of .292.
The hottest Sox batter has to be Mr. Mookie Betts. He has regained his swing, and using it in force whenever the Sox need a big hit. After a lackluster August where he batted just .243, 1 HR, 12 RBIs —– In September this is what he has done. 23 for 84 (.274 avg) (.344 OBP) (.583 SLG) (.927 OPS) 7 Doubles, 2 Triples, 5 HRs, 21 RBIs, 15 Runs, 9 Walks, 14 Ks, 3 SBs. Two of those doubles were both bases clearing doubles. The latter being the game winning hit against the Reds yesterday as they completed the sweep. He is now 1 RBI away from 100, and 3 more RBIs would give him the most he has had in any month this season.
As the season winds down to a halt, word is coming out that Eduardo Nunez is going to be coming back during this homestand. The team in the midst of a hot run, will be getting back a great bat and energy back into the lineup.
Let the good times roll.