By Andy Lindberg
Despite the best efforts of Mother Nature and Hurricane Irene, the Boston Red Sox slogged through a wet day on Saturday, August 27 to sweep a twin bill against Oakland and go 5-2 on the week. In the process, the Red Sox upped their lead over the New York Yankees to two games before entering a crucial three game set with the Bombers on Tuesday.
The week began in bleak fashion with a 4-0 loss to the Texas Rangers in sweltering Arlington. The offensive woes did not continue throughout the rest of the series. Last week I mentioned Adrian Gonzalez must get some more run production going soon for Boston to be able to put the Yankees away. Gonzalez responded by crushing five home runs in the final three games of the series, including two each in games two and four.
John Lackey’s ERA finally dipped below 6.00 (it resides now at 5.98) as he won his 12th game of the season last Tuesday. Josh Beckett followed with his 11th win and Andrew Miller threw a spectacular 6.1 scoreless innings in the series finale to take three of four in Texas.
It seems as if Tim Wakefield may never win his 200th game, as he suffered his sixth loss in a 15-5 drubbing in the opening game of the Oakland series. Boston responded on Saturday before Hurricane Irene pelted the coast by sweeping a doubleheader in which Jon Lester won his 14th game of the year in the early game.
Right now Boston enters a three game series with New York that could very well decide the division. The Yankees enter Fenway with an offense that has produced a Major League leading 186 home runs, 20 more homers than the runner up, the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees have scored 719 runs this year, the Red Sox 718. The Yankees lead in RBI with 702, the Red Sox are second with 691. The Red Sox do lead in batting average, however, with a .279 clip to the Yankees’ .269. Even with the offensive prowess New York possesses, it is their pitching that is a problem for them. The Red Sox have a legitimate chance to put New York away this week, but will only be able to do so if Red Sox pitching steps up and can contain the potent Yankee lineup.