The Boston Red Sox continue to look like a different team since Torey Lovullo replaced the ailing John Farrell at the helm last Friday. In their latest installment, the Sox made it two in a row over the Kansas City Royals with an impressive 7-2 victory. After winning the series opener on Thursday night, 4-1, the Sox got a great start from 23 year old Henry Owens in his fourth Major League appearance.
Owens went eight innings, giving up just one earned run on four hits for his second victory. After walking the lead off batter in the first innings, he didn’t give up another walk as he stifled the potent Kansas City offense.
As has generally been the case, the offense was led by the younger players. The bottom third of the order, right fielder Rusney Castillo, catcher Blake Swihart and second baseman Josh Rutledge got eight hits in 12 at bats, including two doubles, a triple and a homer, driving in five runs and scoring six. The veteran trio of third baseman Pablo Sandoval, left fielder Hanley Ramirez and DH David Ortiz, meanwhile, went a collective 1-13 at the plate. In the two wins against the Royals, they are 2-24 with Sandoval having the two hits.
The starting and relief pitching has been vastly improved during this brief period. Wade Miley gave up just one run in 7 1/3 innings to the Royals on Thursday night. Junichi Tazawa, installed as Closer after the loss of Koji Uehara, got his second save in two nights in that game, after blowing his first six save tries this year before Lovullo took over.
The Sox are now 6-2 in their first eight days under Interim Manager Lovullo. The release of Justin Masterson coupled with Ben Cherrington’s exit this week and the hiring of Dave Dombrowski may have sent a message that the Red Sox ownership has had enough of this horrendous season and intends to right the ship.
It remains to be seen if this is just a Honeymoon Period or if the Sox players are ready to begin to perform like the highly paid professionals they are supposed to be.