A 1-6 road trip prompted Boston Red Sox owner John Henry to speak his mind on the state of the franchise. Henry spoke candidly with the media prior to Tuesday’s game when the team returned to Fenway Park to express his disappointment with the “unacceptable” results that the Red Sox produced through the first 51 games. While the owner insists that the jobs of manager John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington are not in jeopardy, he made it abundantly clear that he expects much more from this team.
Did Henry’s words provide a spark for this floundering Red Sox team? A win Tuesday night to begin the homestand is a promising start, but anyone paying attention to Clay Buchholz lately knows that his season turned around about a month ago. Over his last 5 starts, Buchholz has posted a 1.92 ERA, shaving his season ERA from a bloated 6.03 to a more palatable 3.82.
Buchholz carried the team on his back last night, but the offense still isn’t pulling its own weight and the defense has let them down on several occasions of late. A dominant performance from Buchholz inspires hope, but this team still has a lot of work to do in order to climb out of last place in the AL East.
AL East Standings
(A look at the division standings, as of Wednesday morning)
Minnesota Twins: Winning 7 of their last 9 games, including a three game sweep of the Red Sox last week, has given the Twins sole possession of first place in the competitive AL Central. Minnesota has shown few weaknesses, ranking 4th in the league in both runs scored and ERA in the month of May.
The Twins pitching staff may not boast flashy names, but Mike Pelfrey (2.59 ERA) and Kyle Gibson (2.61 ERA) both rank inside the top-10 in the league in ERA and pitching WAR. When those starters need to rely on their bullpen to hold a late lead, there are few better at closing out games than Glen Perkins. He leads the majors with 19 saves while posting a stellar 1.88 ERA and striking out 21 batters in 24.0 innings.
(American League team that is struggling)
Detroit Tigers: What’s happening in Detroit? The Tigers are sliding out of the three-team race for the division with a five-game losing streak. Detroit has lost 8 of its last 10 games and are now just as close to the bottom of the division as they are to the top.
Miguel Cabrera continues to hit like a superstar, but the Tigers aren’t getting nearly enough from the other high profile names in their lineup. Ian Kinsler is hitting .266 with only 1 home run, while Victor Martinez is hitting a meager .216 with one homer and only four extra-base hits. Martinez actually out-produced Cabrera last year to become the best hitter in the Tigers lineup, but this season he has been below replacement level with a -1.0 WAR.
We knew the Tigers lost Max Scherzer over the winter and Justin Verlander has yet to take the mound this season. What we didn’t realize is that they also lost Anibal Sanchez and replaced him with a doppelganger that happens to be wearing his jersey. Sanchez won the ERA crown in the AL in 2013, but now his ERA has ballooned to 5.75 this season, which is the fourth worst in the league.
(Division leaders and teams holding a Wild Card spot in the American League)
AL East: New York Yankees (28-25)
AL Central: Minnesota Twins (30-20)
AL West: Houston Astros (33-20)
Wild Card: Kansas City Royals (29-20)
Wild Card: Los Angeles Angels (28-25)