Photo Credit: Winslow Townson / USA Today Sports
A roller coaster week ends with the Red Sox still atop AL East standings.
Before we get started, let me just introduce myself.
My name is Robert Tate and I’m a new contributor to Sox Sphere. Baseball has always been my first love since a very young age and so have the Boston Red Sox. Ironically enough I’ve never actively written about baseball, so this will be an entirely new venture for me. Hope I make everyone proud at Sox Sphere.
Let’s get started.
The Red Sox showed up to the Coliseum in Oakland with the best record in baseball. Winners of 16 of their last 17 ballgames and riding an 8-game win streak, the Sox showed no signs of slowing down against a weak Athletics team whom they beat the day before 7-3.
Enter: Sean Manaea.
Manaea was absolutely masterful for the Athletics, throwing a no-hitter, [the first time Boston had been no-hit in 25 years] and against the hottest offense in Major League Baseball no less. Striking out 10, and only allowing 3 baserunners 2 by walk and 1 by error; Manaea was the start of an up and down week for the Boston Red Sox.
They would go on to lose the rubber match of that series 4-1, despite starter David Price‘s effort to keep it close giving up 1 run over 7.0 innings, but eventually faltering in the eighth to the tune of three more runs.
They would then head to Toronto for a three game series with the Blue Jays, losing the first game of that series as well 4-3 in extra innings behind a good, but not good enough performance by Rick Porcello who gave up three runs on three hits with 9 strikeouts.
Mookie Betts would help put the Red Sox in the win column the next night with two home runs and three RBI’s – a 4-3 victory for the Sox. The Sox would then take the third game of the series 5-4, despite a less than stellar performance by Chris Sale, who gave up a run in each of the first 3 innings before finally settling into a groove.
The Sox came home for a series against the Rays, winners of six straight coming into the series, the red hot Rays would take the first game of the series 4-3 behind three home runs off Boston starter, Drew Pomeranz who returned from the DL just last week.
The Rays followed that up with a 12-6 beatdown of the Sox, in which David Price only went 5.2 innings before getting the hook, giving up 5 runs on 8 hits and walking 4. In relief for the Sox, Brian Johnson would also get tagged for 5 runs in a game Boston would be better off forgetting. The Sox would take the final game of this series 4-3 behind timely hitting from Sandy Leon of all people, who would plate J.D. Martinez late in the game as the eventual winning run.
As we head into May, the Red Sox sit at 20-7, still good enough for the best record in Major League Baseball. That being said this week was certainly far from smooth sailing, as they look to get some consistency going in a 3 game series at home against the struggling Royals (7-20) and have a chance to set a franchise record with 19 wins in April.
Following Kansas City, Boston heads back out on the road for a 4 game tilt against the Texas Rangers (11-18), and then it’s a trip to the Bronx to face a Yankees (18-9) team that has suddenly found their footing, winners of 9 of their last 10 games.
As we creep closer to summer, the competition in the AL East as well as across baseball is sure to heat up, and we’ll be here to cover how these Sox stack up throughout the season.
That’s it for this week, until next week, Play Ball!