The Boston Red Sox had their best offensive performance of the season. Is this a sign their bats are waking up or a product of their competition?
Following a humiliating sweep of Tuesday’s doubleheader at Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox took out their frustrations on the Detroit Tigers last night.
The Red Sox scored a season-high 11 runs on 12 hits and seven walks in a win over the Tigers. Their previous high for runs scored this season was eight, a total they have reached twice, although both instances came in a loss. This offensive explosion was much sweeter in a victory, salvaging a series that threatened to spoil any goodwill the Red Sox had gained by sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays last weekend.
As encouraging as the lineup’s performance was, we’re still left wondering – does this signal that Boston’s bats are finally waking up or is it that the Tigers simply aren’t very good?
Detroit is currently a game above .500 and in the thick of the AL Central race but this is a team that lost 98 games last year, suggesting the good times aren’t meant to last.
That being said, Tigers starter Tyson Ross has pitched well this season. He entering the game with a 3.38 ERA through four starts and owns a 3.96 ERA for his career. Ross isn’t the All-Star he was a few years ago but he’s no punching bag. The Red Sox tagged him for four earned runs over the five innings he lasted on the mound.
Boston managed to get to Detroit’s bullpen early but this year’s crop of Tigers relievers isn’t as dismal as the one that finished near the bottom of the league in 2018. Detroit’s bullpen is currently middle-of-the-pack in ERA and batting average against.
This Tigers roster doesn’t appear destined to retain their winning record and their lineup may be the worst in the league but their pitching staff has been solid, for the most part. That’s reason enough to find some encouragement in Boston’s success against them.
It wasn’t one monster performance that carried the team. Surprisingly, those 11 runs came without the benefit of a home run. The Red Sox thrived by showing the consistency they have lacked for much of the season, stringing together timely hits to chase in runners that littered the basepaths throughout the game.
Seven of the batters who started the game tallied at least one hit. The exceptions, Mitch Moreland and Michael Chavis, combined for five walks. J.D. Martinez led the way with his first three-hit game of the season, while three others had multi-hit performances.
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Not to dump a bucket of cold water on the excitement ignited by this offensive outburst, but the results were enhanced a bit by the Tigers bullpen melting down in the eighth inning. Boston scored seven runs in the frame, the most they have scored in any inning this season. Three of those runs strolled home when Drew VerHagen issued three consecutive walks with the bases loaded. This followed a day to forget from Jose Fernandez, who hit a batter, walked a pair and allowed two hits before getting the hook with two outs in the inning. Credit the Red Sox for showing patience at the plate but several of those runs were a gift from a pitching staff that couldn’t find the strike zone.
The Red Sox may have been fortunate to reach 11 runs but they still scored enough to win the game before the parade of free passes padded their total. The extra runs that were handed to them can still serve as a confidence boost for this lineup to build on.
One game hardly confirms that the inconsistency issues that have plagued this team have suddenly been solved. We’ll need a larger sample to find out if the Red Sox offense is back on track but there are promising signs to take away from this performance.