Well that’s a bit more like it. Taking two outta three from a team in the playoff chase like the Tampa Bay Rays is kind of what I was hoping for in Oakland. Alas that was not to be (or the next 4 in Kansas City, but I digress), but the team made up for it here. The most exciting thing about this series was the starting pitching for the Sox, as Reynaldo Lopez has now strung together 3 pretty darn good starts in a row. On top of that we saw Lucas Giolito return to form, mowing down Rays like like the propeller of a drunken Floridian’s speedboat off the Tampa coast. Oh yeah, James McCann is pretty clutch too.
BULLET CLUB TIME
Numbers Don’t Lie
-All three Sox starters this weekend went at least 5 innings. This was a welcome sight, because after the 7 game losing streak coming out of the All Star break the bullpen was reaching critical mass. Especially with Kelvin “Everything Hurts” Herrera heading back to the IL with an oblique strain. Speaking of the bullpen, it was aces this series. It allowed no runs, 2 hits and 3 walks in 9.1 innings to a Rays team that isn’t without pop in it’s lineup. Jace Fry and Josh Osich in particular stood out. This is a good thing, and I would like more of it please.
-James McCann went 2 for 14 this weekend and saw his average dip below .300 for the first time in quite awhile. That didn’t matter so much, however, thanks to his clutch ass dinger in the top of the 9th in game two, with two people out. Even if regression is here (I think it probably is), I’ll take a catcher who hits .275 and has power in the clutch any day of the week.
-Watching Jose Rondon hack his way to an eye-bleedingly bad .190 average and play sub par defense is not making for good television viewing. Please, please, please let Tim Anderson’s evaluation go well tomorrow. My retinas can’t take much more.
-Especially when Rondon is combined into a 1-2 punch of wretchedness with Wellington Castillo. Ole Big Beef is back below the Mendoza line after Sunday’s 0 for 4 display, putting on a clinic of What Not To Do with runners on base. The Sox continue their mystifying tradition of having complete stiffs playing the DH position, and it’s getting to the point where I hope the team has a road trip to NL parks soon so I can watch Giolio and Lopez out-slug Wellington by .100 points of OPS.
-Dylan Cease got himself into trouble with walks today, having issues controlling his fastball again. The stuff is clearly there, it’s just going to take time for him to get comfortable on the bump up here in the bigs.
-Nick Madrigal hit his first home run in AA the other night, checking another box in the pages long list of them that only Rick Hahn knows what it contains. Luis Robert continues to rake in AAA, playing in that broom closet of a park with a ball that has an enriched uranium core. I wonder if one of the boxes on Rick’s list is X amount of dollars of property damage before Robert is called up to the main club, because he’s really not slowing down.
-Next up is the Miami Marlins of Cuba, who wander into town tomorrow night. They’re ready to showcase their wares to the dozens of GM’s lining up to be the next person to fleece Derek Jeter by convincing him that this bag of magic beans is totally worth Caleb Smith and Jordan Yamamoto. Honestly you’re kind of doing him a favor, as these beans are going to be top 10 in Baseball America’s next prospect list. Seriously, would I lie to you? You’re a hall of famer, Derek! If anything, YOU’RE hoodwinking ME. Why sure, I guess I’ll take Brian Anderson too. He’s probably a career AAA guy anyways. You owe me.