Red Sox

McAdam: Red Sox hitting their stride at the right time

McAdam: Red Sox hitting their stride at the right time

BOSTON - The air is more crisp now and it's nearly dark already when the first pitch is thrown each night. The out-of-town scores are checked more regularly and every game seems to take on additional importance.

It is this time of year that the Red Sox have chosen to play their best baseball of the season.

That may not be reflected in the standings, where the American League East looks like the Southeast Expressway at the start of a holiday weekend, with teams caught in traffic. The Sox are not running away with anything - their lead is a mere two games -- but they are, undeniably, hitting their stride.

By any measure -- the vastly-improved starting pitching; the explosiveness of the offense; even the late-coalescing bullpen -- the Red Sox are now at their best when it means the most.

"It's hard to argue that we aren't,'' agreed manager John Farrell after the Red Sox beat up the Baltimore Orioles, 12-2. "We're clicking in a number of ways, and this time of the year, it's happening at the right time.''

Maybe a week or so ago, the argument could be made that the Sox were merely beating up bad competition by flattening the A's and Padres.


But more recently, the Red Sox have had to contend with the two teams closest to them in the standings -- the Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays -- and won three-of-four. In all three wins, the Red Sox posted double-figures in runs scored.

It was more of the same Monday night, when the Sox jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning, then proceeded to add at least one run for every one of the next six innings.

Still, as Farrell noted, this recent stretch has been primarily the result of a vastly improved starting rotation.

When Clay Buchholz stumbled Sunday, it marked the first time since the end of the last homestand, last month, in which the Sox didn't get a quality start.

"To me, it comes back to the rotation,'' said Farrell. "The consistency of those guys going out and keeping games under control -- whether or not we score a high number of runs or not, we're in almost every ballgame.''

There are other signs, too. The offense has been lethal of late, with double-figures in runs scored five times in the last 10. And when they're not bludgeoning teams into submission -- three homers were among the 16 hits in Monday's win -- they're doing the proverbial little things.

Outfielder Mookie Betts, for instance, stole a run in the first inning when he noticed left fielder Steve Pearce hesitating in getting the ball back into the infield. It was the second time in the last week that Betts had taken 90 extra feet in response to an outfield's short attention span.

When a team is excelling at every aspect of the game -- starting pitching, offense, baserunning and the bullpen - that's a tough combination to beat.

Just under three weeks remain until the post-season, and the Red Sox are playing like they can't wait.


Red Sox trade Marrero to Diambondbacks

Red Sox trade Marrero to Diambondbacks

The Red Sox traded infielder Deven Marrero to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a player to be named or cash. 

Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski made the announcement on Saturday.

Marrero, 27, was fighting for one of the final roster spots as a bench player, along with utility man Brock Holt.  The first-round pick in 2012 out of Arizona State had spent his entire pro career with the Red Sox organization. He appeared in 109 major league games from 2015-17, making 50 starts at third base, nine at second base, and five at shortstop.

In 2017, the right-handed hitter played in a career-high 71 major league games, batting .211 with four home runs and 27 RBI. 

Early exit for Sale after liner off leg, but he's expected to be OK

Early exit for Sale after liner off leg, but he's expected to be OK

Red Sox ace Chris Sale is expected to be able to make his Opening Day start after he was struck in the left leg by a line drive off the bat of the Houston Astros' J.D. Davis in the first inning on Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla., and had to leave his final spring training start. 

After being examined by team medical personnel on the field, Sale walked back to the dugout. He was taken for precautionary X-rays which showed no structural damage.

The Red Sox said Sale sustained a contusion on his left leg.  "I don't see anything lingering from this. It looked a lot worse than it was," Sale told reporters. "It scared the hell out of me,”

Sale is scheduled to be the Red Sox Thursday in the season opener against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla.  Manager Alex Cora and Sale said he'd be OK to make the start.