By Andy Lindberg
By some miraculous influence, the Boston Red Sox were able to salvage their horrific nine-game interleague road trip with a sweep over the Houston Astros, currently the worst team in the Major Leagues. However, the sweep was more difficult than it should have been. Game one of the series saw the Sox eek out a 7-5 win after scoring six runs in the seventh inning capped by a two-run double from Adrian Gonzalez. Game two was the drubbing it should have been in a 10-4 victory and Andrew Miller pitched another very solid game for Boston, improving his record to 2-0 with a 3.06 ERA, having allowed only six earned runs in three starts to this point. The tall left-hander has incorporated a good changeup that had not previously worked for him in the Majors, but currently has seen success. Miller could very well end up being a valuable piece for the Red Sox organization as the season progresses and in the future. The most important thing for Boston is to keep Miller out of the bullpen. Miller’s true value lies as a starter, and shifting him to relief permanently would be a mistake given what he has provided the rotation thus far, and enabling Alfredo Aceves to transition back into a long relief role in the bullpen.
Earlier in the week the Sox dropped two out of three to exceptional Philadelphia Philly pitching. The Sox didn’t even get Roy Halladay or Roy Oswalt, but Cliff Lee and Vance Worley were more than enough to stymie Boston. In game three, Jon Lester returned to form and won his 10th game of the year with a brilliant seven inning two-hit performance. Lester was backed by two Jason Varitek home runs. Varitek continues to find success in a limited role as the backup, mostly behind the plate calling the signals.
John Lackey pitched very, very well in the second game of that series, even crushing a RBI double only to fall 2-1 when his offense could muster nothing.
Lackey opens up the Toronto Blue Jays‘ series today, which ends on Wednesday night. Then Thursday through Sunday the Sox play four against the not-so-terrible Baltimore Orioles and JJ Hardy, who is having a very nice season. Currently Boston sits 1.5 back of New York in the AL East.
After suffering through interleague play and going 0-10, hopefully David Ortiz can muster up some offense back in the confines of Fenway Park, because the Red Sox sorely missed his bat. Papi was on fire before interleague and now I fear that he could be in a prolonged slump because of it. Time will tell in this theory.