Credit: Nick Fustor
The Red Sox are 5-2 on their current ten game road trip. With ten games in ten days in four different cities this has been described as the Red Sox most grueling trip of the year. It also however is the most important. Before this current trip began many people saw this is as a disastrous trip and one that could end the Red Sox post season chances, however that has not been the case. The Sox won the first game of the trip in Cleveland before sweeping Baltimore in a two game series and splitting a four game set with the Detroit Tigers. With the exception of the Rays, against whom the Sox end the trip, all the teams they face are postseason contenders. If the Sox are to make a deep postseason run these are the teams they’ll have to beat. That has not fazed the Sox as the strengths of this team have shown throughout the trip.
Before the trip the Sox greatest weakness was their starting pitching. On the trip so far The starters have stepped up. Drew Pomeranz, acquired at the deadline, has won his last two starts (including the longest start of his career) after going winless in his first five starts with the Sox. David Price has looked better and Clay Buchholz, in the midst of the worst season of his career, threw six innings of one run ball against the Tigers to replace an injured Steven Wright. The pitching, however, has not been the sole reason for the Red Sox success on the trip. Mookie Betts had another multi homer game in Baltimore and has pushed his way into the conversation for AL MVP. Betts however is not the only Sox hitter in the MVP conversation as after a mini slump David Ortiz is getting hot again. In Ortiz’s last seven games he is hitting .500 with two homers and five runs batted in. Andrew Benintendi has also contributed mightily; since his call up the young phenom is hitting over .300 and has helped stabilize left field which has been a revolving door all season for the Red Sox.
Even though the Sox have been playing well they still have issues. The bullpen has been a problem as they’ve had trouble holding leads. Of late Junichi Tazawa and Brad Ziegler have not been nearly effective as they were earlier in the season. This road has shown that those issues may not be fatal. On this trip the Sox have been doing something that’s eluded them all year. They are hitting and getting the starting pitching they expected, against teams they expect to see in the postseason. If the bullpen can improve and the starting pitching continues to pitch to its capabilities then this could become a very dangerous team come the postseason. The road trip that was supposed to end their postseason chances has done the opposite.