There have been very few opportunities for “must win” series for the Red Sox, but this weekend will be critical for postseason chances.
To be entirely honest, the gist of this article could be summed up by saying one word – sweep. The Boston Red Sox have backed themselves into a corner in 2019 that has exceeded the “World Series hangover” as it has lasted the entire duration of this season. Now, with 42 games left to play, the defending champions need to take advantage of every available opportunity to get back into contention.
As of now, the Red Sox sit 7.5 games out of the final Wild Card spot, trailing the Cleveland Indians (9.5), Tampa Bay Rays (7.5), and Oakland Athletics (6) in the standings. Despite the daunting distance, Boston has a prime opportunity to begin to reel in those respective teams. Here’s the upcoming weekend schedule for each:
Red Sox vs. Orioles (3)
Athletics vs. Astros (3)
Indians vs. Yankees (3)
Rays vs. Tigers (3)
Aside from the Rays, the Sox have the most opportunistic schedule as the Athletics and Indians face the two premier American League teams. At this point in the season, 2 of 3 isn’t good enough. The Boston Red Sox need to defend Fenway Park and assert their dominance on the lowly Orioles.
As many have mentioned, the starting pitching has been a huge issue this season and Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, and (likely) Chris Sale will take the mound in a critical series. Each of the mentioned arms have had up-and-down years, but none as poor as Porcello. In a contract season, he’s posted the worse ERA (5.67) of his career and will seek to rectify recent performance as he’ll take on the Orioles.
It’s ironic, but Porcello will set the tone for the critical series. If he lays an egg, the Red Sox will have to lean on their offensive firepower and streaky bullpen to patch the damage. If he’s dominant, Porcello has the opportunity to get a team with plenty of potential headed in the right direction.
The Boston Red Sox must sweep the Orioles – plain & simple. It can happen, but the Sox need to flex their muscles at Fenway. No messing around, it’s do or die for the defending champions.