Red Sox vs Blue Jays: Final thoughts from the 8-7 win

Apr 18, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland (18) hits an RBI double in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 18, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland (18) hits an RBI double in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Brian Johnson got his first major league win as the Red Sox’s bats explode garnering 15 hits and 8 runs and extending their win streak to four in a row.

The Boston Red Sox scored all of those runs and only had one home run, showing that the home run power isn’t needed to win ball games.

Five of the Sox players had two hits or more with big games from Mitch Moreland, Mookie Betts, and Pablo Sandoval. It all started with Brian Johnson making his 2017 season debut after posting a 1.69 ERA in two starts in Triple-A.

Eduardo Rodriguez went on paternity leave after Sunday’s game and Johnson was the one to fill his spot. It was a rough first inning, giving up two earned runs quickly. It looked like it was going to get very ugly very fast, but he was able to keep it a manageable game for the whole time he was pitching. He was mainly throwing around a 88-89 mph fastball and 70-75 mph curveball. At times, his curveball was very effective and looked as nasty as the top curveball’s in the game. He went 5 IP with a 7.20 ERA, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, and 6 SO. The high earned runs didn’t matter because the offense had his back.

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Marcus Stroman‘s luck against the Sox just keeps getting worse and worse. He had an ERA of 9.92 against the Red Sox and got rocked again last night. He went into the game with a 1.76 ERA and left, after giving up six earned runs in four and two thirds inning, with a 4.05 ERA. Three of those six earned runs were driven in by Mitchell Austin Moreland, the hottest hitter on this Red Sox team.

Moreland went 3-for-5 with a run and three RBIs. He drove in the game’s second two runs to give the Sox their first lead of the night and then drove in another run to open up the game even more. He’s a doubles machine, hitting his major-league leading tenth double. He has now gone 19-44 since starting his Red Sox career hitless and has a slash line of .358 AVG /.443 OBP /.604 SLG. Is that good? If he keeps it up, he’ll be a steal for the Sox. You’re looking at a potential silver slugger and another gold glove winner at first base!

Mookie Betts had another big game. He went 3-5 with 3 H, 3 R, and 2 RBI. He also hit his first home run of the season. He started the season off slow, but after a monster few games of late, his stat line is back to looking like the potential 2017 AL MVP candidate that all fans know. He has a .325 AVG /.400 OBP /.800 SLG. He’ll show the voters that he deserved last season’s AL MVP even more when he picks up the award this year.

Pablo Sandoval did something today that he hasn’t done since August 14, 2015. He had a three-hit game. He went 3-for-4 with a run, RBI and a walk. He was finally making good contact for once and he even did it one time from the right side. Every one knows Sandoval’s struggles from the right side and I even talked about it after recapping this game. This one statistic showed it even more. He is still struggling from the plate with a .143 AVG/.196 OBP/381 SLG. Hopefully this game jump starts his offense and his redemption tour still continues!

Hanley Ramirez also had a a strong game driving in one, showing his potential home run power as he was only a few feet away from his first home run. Xander Bogaerts, in his first game from the lead-off position, went 2-for-5  and is now batting .341. He needs to hit higher in the lineup continually, which could be a problem with such a good lineup. There’s nowhere for him to go because Andrew Benintendi is still hot after going 2-for-5 today, now with a .321 average, and Pedroia is the best from the top of the lineup and has earned it over time. It’ll be interesting to see how Farrell handles this problem as the season goes. It’s a good problem to have, but needs to be addressed.

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A bad problem that needs to be focused on is the rotation of the bullpen. Farrell needs a clearer idea of where and when each pitcher will be used. Heath Hembree was the first man out of the pen today. He went two innings allowing no runs, two hits and one walk. He’ll certainly be off limits next game because of the use, leaving the pen down another arm.

Fernando Abad could be useful in many situations, but it seems like Farrell doesn’t trust him. He has only been used in 2.2 innings over three games, in non-pressure situations this whole season so far. If Abad isn’t going to be used, then send him down to Triple-A and call up Ben Taylor for good. He’s proven his worth in many high pressure situations this season already. Why waste a spot with Abad?

This team will also need a fresh arm and clearer rotation because of Matt Barnes‘s implosion in the ninth inning. He got the first two outs easily, gave up three runs and then finally ended the game. It was an emotional roller coaster. If he can’t be trusted in high pressure situations then who in the bullpen, besides Kimbrel, can be? This bullpen needs to be figured out as soon as possible, especially with the majority of the starter’s ERA.

Next: Red Sox Strut: Mitch Moreland and Chris Sale lead the pack

The team got the win tonight, but it was much harder than it should’ve been. The Blue Jays are 2-11 and are slowly losing contention from the AL East. If the Red Sox want to be the best team, they need to start easily winning against the bad teams. Rick Porcello goes again tomorrow, hoping to rebound after his worst start of the season.