Nothing like some afternoon baseball to lift some spirits right? With the weekend right around the corner, the Red Sox guaranteed a happy flight to St. Pete after taking care of the Oakland Athletics today. Drew Pomeranz got the start in this one, and if you remember, last time he faced the Athletics back in May, his season really turned around after that start. Today, he was much better than he was on May 20th. The lefty allowed only one run while scattering five hits and three walks over the six innings he pitched. He managed to strike out five and really only got into trouble in one inning, the fifth. That was the only inning where the Athletics scored off of him, and he got out of the inning with some help from the guys behind him.
In relief of Pomeranz, the bullpen was tasked with protecting a two-run lead at the time of the southpaw’s departure. Brandon Workman and Robby Scott both faced a batter each to start the seventh, and Addison Reed finished it without giving up anything despite loading the bases. Joe Kelly served up a solo home run to Ryon Healy in the eighth, and Craig Kimbrel, in a non-save situation, recorded two strikeouts while pitching a scoreless ninth to secure the win.
Offensively, the bats took a little while to get going, but they hit their stride from the fifth to the seventh. They scored all six of their runs in that three inning span, including a solo shot from Christian Vazquez in the fifth, his fifth, to tie things up at one. It was a big day for Andrew Benintendi, as the left fielder drove in three runs on three hits, two of those being doubles. He does this on the same day his old friend, Yoan Moncada, reached base six times today while also hitting a home run. I thought those two were going to run things up in Boston, but that’s the past. Anyway, Dustin Pedroia and Mitch Moreland also drove in a run a piece today, Mitchy Two Bags got his on an RBI double in the sixth, and Pedroia got his on a sac fly in the seventh. Benintendi put an exclamation point on this one with a 2 RBI single in the seventh, scoring Brock Holt and Xander Bogaerts to put this one out of reach.
After starting September a bit cold, Benintendi has started to pick things up again. Since September 6th, the lefty is slashing .423/.423/.654 if I did the math right. With the potential he has to go along with how he has performed this season overall, I personally think he deserved more playing time over Chris Young, who is batting .191 against lefties this season.
A three game series against the Rays kicks off tomorrow with Chris Sale taking the hill for the opener. With all the talk about the Cy Young Award belonging to Corey Kluber, perhaps Sale can remind everyone why he was the favorite to win for the majority of the season.
83 down, 9 to go.