The Red Sox salvaged the weekend series in Chicago by taking the final 2 games from the Cubs, but at 33-33, they still trail the AL-East-leading Yankees by a whopping 8 games. Not good. Throw in the fact that they just placed Josh Beckett on the DL with shoulder issues, this does not bode well for the Red Sox. The only bright spot right now – they are only 4 games out of a wild card playoff spot. And once you are in the playoffs, anything can happen!
Jon Lester looked great against the worst team in baseball in Saturday’s prime time 4-3 win. Lester tossed 6+ innings on a sweltering night in Chicago. He could have gone longer, but Manager Bobby V opted to pull him after he served up Luis Valbuena’s 3-run jack that cut the Red Sox lead to 4-3. He struck out 8 Cubs hitters and scattered 7 hits while walking only 1. Alfredo Aceves worked the 9th to pick up his 16th save – not bad for a closer with a 1.26 WHIP and ERA over 4 still. The Red Sox made the most of their 8 hits – 2 apiece from Scott Posednik, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Mike Aviles. Saltalamacchia hit his 12th home run and drove in 2 of the Red Sox 4 runs.
On Sunday Night ESPN Baseball, Franklin Morales made the most of his spot start in place of the injured Josh Beckett. Morales struck out 9 batters in 5 innings and he allowed just 2 ER on 4 hits with no walks. But he left with the game tied at 2 and did not factor in the decision. The Red Sox broke things open with 3 runs in the 7th and 1 run in the 8th to give the Red Sox a commanding 7-3 lead.
But the Cubs are just bad – so it wasn’t really a major accomplishment to win the series – the Red Sox should have swept the series if not for Ryan Dempster’s gem on Friday afternoon.
The Red Sox open up a big 9-game homestand with interleague games against the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves this week and then a 3-game set against AL-East rival Toronto next week. Then it’s off for a 7-game west coast trip through Seattle and Oakland. It’s definitely set up to be a winnable stretch for the under-achieving Red Sox – now they just have to do it…