Three things we learned from the Red Sox' 10-5 win over the Angels
Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox’ 10-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim . . .
1) Boston is still in second place after the midway point
The highs have been sky-high and the lows have been the exact opposite -- and more amplified because the issues have become more glaring.
Either way the Red Sox are well within striking distance of the AL East title. That’s despite the starting rotation’s ERA being in the bottom third in baseball, a tired bullpen and injuries up and down the lineup.
“Well the key without a doubt will be to stabilize our pitching,” John Farrell said on second half adjustments. “Particularly in the rotation. Whoever that might be internally, how we sort through some things . . . So to this point in the schedule, I think this is a very good offensive team.
“What [Dustin Pedroia] and David [Ortiz] do to lead our club -- it’s still the evolving of our younger guys. While this is a strong offensive team, we still have areas of improvement. And we’re seeking and exhausting every opportunity to do that from within. We’ll see what transpires as we go forth through the month of July.”
2) The bottom third of the lineup is in position to be potent again
With Chris Young and Brock Holt removed from the lineup for a long stretch, along with Jackie Bradley Jr. moving up in the order and Travis Shaw moving down due to inconsistency, the bottom third of the order has been a loss for production of late.
But now, with Holt back and Sandy Leon playing two of every five games -- and hitting .457 in his limited time this season -- the Red Sox have a chance to get production from the part of the lineup that was so deadly earlier in the year.
“To see that he’s doing it on both sides of the plate, that’s what’s most encouraging,” John Farrell said on Leon following the win. “He came into camp in great shape. His timing was more consistent than when we got him a year ago. And it’s carried throughout the time at Pawtucket, up to here now.
“Brock steps right back in and [gets] four base hits in the two games played. It gives us a spark. He’s got a true understanding of what a pitcher’s trying to do against him.”
If Boston can get more from Shaw consistently -- or at least something similar to Marco Hernandez’s performance Sunday -- with help from Christian Vazquez when Leon is out, then the Red Sox won’t have a glaring hole in it’s lineup.
3) Hanley Ramirez is actually finding a groove
Boston’s No. 5 hitter has finally started to hit well -- and not just in low leverage situations.
Ramirez is batting .417 in his last 10 contests, launching four doubles and three home runs -- knocking in eight in his 15-for-36 stretch.
The Red Sox first baseman opened the floodgates in the fifth inning, following up a David Ortiz RBI double with a two run double of his own -- with two outs.
“Hanley with a big one in [the fifth] and a couple of RBI,” Farrell said. “And the way their offense was in the middle inning, we needed every run.”
His 3-for-5 performance comes a day after lacing two hits in the pummeling 21-2 loss. With Ramirez contributing to the lineup once again, David Ortiz has the chance to see a few more hittable pitches than he has lately.