SOX LOST HITTING, FOUND PITCHING

Scan0001The Red Sox start a three game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers tonight on the west coast. They have been out west since July 28, splitting a four game series with the Angels in Anaheim and doing the same with the Mariners in Seattle.

They have won four and lost four at the beginning of this 11 game trip. Everyone in Red Sox land has been complaining about their terrible remaining schedule which includes another long western swing later in the season.

The Red Sox had averaged 5.68 runs per game overall and 4.62 per game on the road in the 99 games prior to starting this trip. Since they have been on the west coast, they have played eight games and scored a total of 24 runs or three per game.

Fortunately for the Sox, their starting pitching, presently a five man rotation that includes David Price, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright, Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz, has given up just 23 runs in that period. The starters earned run average for that stretch is 3.32. The team ERA for the year is 4.30, 18th worst in all of baseball but the starters have stepped up on this trip.

Even in games that they have lost, the starting pitching has been effective. Porcello, who had only pitched four complete games in his entire career, has pitched two complete games in a row, although he lost one. Price has looked like the old David Price, except for that one inning in Seattle. Rodriguez had his best outing of the year in Game 1 at Seattle.

If the starting pitching hadn’t stepped up on this trip, the Red Sox would not have been able to split eight games. When the trip started, the Sox were in third place 2 ½ games behind Baltimore. Today, after eight days on the road, they have gained a half game and trail the Orioles and Blue Jays, who are now tied for first, by just two games. While they have seen their bats silenced going from 5.68 runs per game to 3.0, they have actually gained a half game on first place.

Hopefully, the bats will come alive in Los Angeles the next three days. There are 55 games left for the Red Sox to play in this season and they are still in the thick of it. If the starting pitching can continue to do the job as it has in the last eight days, bad schedule or not, and the Sox return to their hitting form, Red Sox fans will be enjoying a longer season than they have the last two years.

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