Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com (Source: Jason O. Watson/Getty Images North America)
The first west coast trip of the season is officially over, and the Boston Red Sox reign supreme atop the AL East. While the week didn’t end as well as hoped, the Red Sox still remain one of the best teams in the league after four weeks. Let’s take a look at the good and the bad in the Boston Red Sox week four recap.
Boston Red Sox week four recap – The Good
The offense during the weekdays
From Tuesday to Friday, the Red Sox offense was the hottest in the league. Entering the week, the knock on the Sox was that they hadn’t faced any major competition, and it looked like that was about to change. Boston faced their biggest challenge of the year, going up against a red-hot Angels squad. To make matters worse, the Sox began the series by facing rookie phenomenon Shohei Ohtani.
The Sox responded by winning the three-game series by a combined score of 27-3. Mookie Betts led the series off with a leadoff home run, and the bats didn’t stop. The Red Sox hit a combined 11 home runs in the three games, including a Rafael Devers grand slam. The 11 home runs were the most any Red Sox team had hit in a three-game series since June of 1977.
The squad then moved to Oakland to take on the Athletics, and the bats did pretty well on Friday. The Red Sox won, 7-3, with all of their runs coming via the long ball. Jackie Bradley hit a three-run bomb, and Mitch Moreland hit the teams fifth grand slam of the season.
Mitch Moreland in particular
The Red Sox have an abundance of talent at the first base position, yet Moreland used this past week to make a serious push for playing time. As previously mentioned, Moreland hit a grand slam against the Athletics, but that was far from his only contribution this past week.
In all, Moreland has a .417 batting average with one double, two homers, and nine runs batted in the past week. The lefty is currently riding a nine-game hit streak, and has provided arguably the most pop in the entire lineup. If Moreland can keep this up, it will be difficult for the Red Sox to keep him on the bench.
The bullpen is probably the most highly criticized part of the Red Sox roster, but the unit has been carrying its weight and then some as of late. The Sox bullpen has currently allowed just one run in its past 25.2 innings of work, including 19.2 consecutive scoreless innings.
It appears as though the return of the starting pitching has dramatically improved the bullpen. The presence of Hector Velazquez and Brian Johnson helped to solidify the back end, while other players like Joe Kelly and Carson Smith seem to be putting their rough openings behind them.
Barring a major trade, this unit will never be the strength of the team. However, the recent success of the unit shows that it’s no weak link. With great starting pitching, a powerful offense, and a solid bullpen, this Red Sox team doesn’t have any clear flaws.
The offense during the weekend
As prolific as the offense was during the weekdays, it was just as anemic over the weekend. Entering Saturday, the Red Sox were averaging 8.8 runs per game, and were looking to win their ninth straight game. Everything was going their way, and their bats were as hot as they get.
So naturally, the Sox were no hit. Oakland Athletics pitcher Sean Manaea was fantastic, and the Red Sox had no answers. This wasn’t a case of the Sox hitting hard shots right to defenders, either. Boston just couldn’t connect on anything, as Manaea silenced the powerful lineup.
Things didn’t get much better on Sunday. With Betts, Eduardo Nunez, and Hanley Ramirez resting, the Red Sox were only able to muster one run. The trademark power was nowhere to be found, as the team only had six hits of the day, only two of which went for extra bases.
Obviously, a two-game sample size is nothing to worry about in a 162-game season, but the Red Sox offense was nowhere to be found over the weekend. Boston has an off day Monday, but heads to Toronto to face the second-place Blue Jays in a three-game series starting Tuesday. This is a crucial series, and the Sox bats need to be at their best to continue to add to their AL East lead.