Series Wrap-up: Red Sox @ Angels


If this is a dream, please don’t pinch me because I don’t want to wake up from this one. The Red Sox are playing like the team that many thought they would play like at the start of the season. Aside from starting 2-10 and setting a club record for 7 consecutive road losses, the Red Sox are now one game shy of reaching the .500 mark on the season, thanks in large part to a 4 game sweep of the LA Angels over the weekend.

After earning a split in Oakland, the Red Sox moved to Southern California to face, at the time, one of the best teams in baseball, the LA Angels. As you may recall in my Series Snapshot post, I stated that the Red Sox had to gel as a team and do it quickly or this series could go in the Angels favor in a hurry. Well the Red Sox were able to do just that and what a better way than an 11th inning win on Thursday night to set the tone. Adrian Gonzalezlashed a double to score the eventual game winning run and from there the Sox never looked back. Other than a 2 run homer in the 7th, Josh Beckett was once again, superb despite getting the no decision.

Friday’s affair saw undefeated Dan Haren taking on Jon Lester and it was Lester who would deliver gem of an outing. Going 6 strong innings, allowing 4 hits and no runs while fanning 8 batters, Lester turned it over to the bullpen, who made it interesting but still managed to preserve the 4-2 win.

Saturday and Sunday’s games saw the resurgence continue for both Dice-K and John Lackey. Both were almost unhittable, particularly Dice-K as he allowed just one hit over 8 innings. It was damn near perfection and I’m as guilty as anyone for throwing in the towel on Dice-K. He becomes just the third Red Sox pitcher in team history to go 7+ innings and only allow 1 hit in two straight starts. Not to be outdone, Lackey was dominant over his old club and he himself has now gone two straight quality starts. He went 8 innings, gave up 6 hits, didn’t allow a run and struck out 6 before handing the ball off to Dan Wheelerwho closed it out in the 9th and kept the shutout in tact for a 7-0 Red Sox win. It completed the 4 game sweep of the Halos and pushed the Red Sox winning streak to 5 games.

Series Monstah’

Traditionally I give the Monstah’ to one player, but this series I am going to bend the rules a little bit and give it to the 4 starters, Beckett, Lester, Dice-K and Lackey. Not only were they monsters in this series, but throw in Clay Buchholzand they are the reason the Red Sox are now just one game below .500. Over the course of this 4 game set in LA, the above mentioned four starters threw 30.0 innings, gave up 14 hits, allowed only 2 earned runs and struck out 28 batters. Beckett has now gone 7.0+ innings in 3 straight starts, while allowing 5 or less base runners. The only other Red Sox pitcher to do that since 1944, was Pedro Martinez. Take a bow boys, you’re the stars of the show.

The Last Word:

They say pitching and defense wins championships, and if the Red Sox are going to make a run at the division, it’s no secret they’re going to need quality pitching from their starting rotation. Well they are now getting it. Over the first 12 games, the Red Sox starters were 2-7 with a 6.71 ERA. Over the past nine games, they’re a combined 7-1 with a sparkling 0.88 ERA. The nice thing about this run the Sox have been on is that all their starters are contributing and all are doing so in a dominant form. The offense is getting the timely hits in games, although not always, but the pitching has been rock solid and given the offense plenty of opportunity to put some runs up and give this team the lead. Once that happens, the Red Sox haven’t looked back. After all, it was an ugly 2-10 start so who would want to look back and see that as a reminder.

On Deck:

Up next for the Red Sox is a trip to Camden Yards to play the divisional rivals, Baltimore Orioles. After an off day on Monday, the Sox begin the 3 game series on Tuesday. For more on this series, look for my Series Snapshot: Baltimore Orioles post.

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