Boston Red Sox save their season just in time with sweep against the O’s

Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox started their season off with a three game series against the Baltimore Orioles. It seemed like a nice way to ease into the season against one of the worst teams in the league.

The Orioles promptly shocked the league by pulling off an upset sweep, and made Red Sox fans wonder if they were in for yet another disappointing season.

Since then, these two teams have gone in complete opposite directions, with Baltimore cratering to the bottom of the AL East with the Sox skyrocketing to the top. It felt like everything came full circle this weekend when the Boston Red Sox swept the Orioles right out of town.

Boston had been in the midst of their worst stretch of the season, as they watched a four and a half game lead at the top of the AL East turn into a five game deficit in second place behind the Tampa Bay Rays. It felt like this series was a chance for Boston to beat up on a lesser opponent and regain their footing before making a charge back up the standings.

And that couldn’t have proven to be more accurate. Boston dominated Baltimore, as they outscored them 30-5 over the course of the series. It may have come against one of the worst teams in the league, but it finally felt like Boston had regained their mojo, and proved that they were capable of breaking out of their slump.

Why the Boston Red Sox recent sweep is so important

Breaking a slump is important, no matter if you do it against a playoff team or a cellar dweller like Baltimore. Boston needed to win badly, especially after losing a few contests in particularly brutal fashion. Sweeping Baltimore out of town will give a team that was severely lacking in confidence the belief that they can win again.

There were also a number of developments this weekend that should make Sox fans feel good about the direction this team is heading in. For starters, they got a bunch of starters back, as Chris Sale, Kyle Schwarber, Alex Verdugo, and Christian Vazquez all rejoined the team at some point during this series. Guys like Christian Arroyo, Ryan Brasier, and Danny Santana will be joining them in short order.

Each of these guys came in and helped out right away. Sale was spectacular in his first major league start in over two years, as he went five innings while striking out eight Orioles. Aside from a pair of back-to-back solo shots in the third inning, he was spotless for the most part.

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Schwarber only played two of the three contests, but his presence was hard to miss, especially this afternoon when he hit a pair of doubles that helped jumpstart the offense. Verdugo had a monster four hit game yesterday in which he also came around to score three times. And Vazquez was part of the sixth inning spurt today that helped Boston put the game away for good.

The lineup as a whole was getting production from one through nine for the most part, which is a great development. In particular, guys like Bobby Dalbec and Jarren Duran appear to finally be find their swings. Dalbec had three homers this series, while Duran chipped in some big hits in the two games he played as well.

Possibly the biggest development was that the stars of the lineup were all hitting again. Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, and Rafael Devers all were fantastic this series, and they are going to have to keep that up for the rest of the season. The rest of the lineup goes as they go.

On the other side of things, the pitching was phenomenal for the first time in awhile. To go along with Sale’s performance, Nick Pivetta and Eduardo Rodriguez both chipped in some fantastic outings, which is a great sign. It looks like Sale’s return to the rotation has not only sparked the rotation, but added some competition among the starters considering Martin Perez and Garrett Richards are sitting in the bullpen, and could be added back to the rotation if someone struggles.

Speaking of the bullpen, both Perez and Richards saw action out of the pen, albeit in games that were already decided. Richards finished off the final three innings of the first game, picking up four strikeouts along the way, and it was probably the best we’ve seen him pitch in a few months. Perez got the call for the final inning of the second game, and he easily closed the door on a 14 run lead.

The rest of the bullpen did their job for the most part this series too. Hirokazu Sawamura, Hansel Robles, and Austin Davis all pitched scoreless innings yesterday, and with the way Robles and Davis have pitched since they arrived to Boston, that’s a miracle in it’s own right. Adam Ottavino continued to look shaky this afternoon, as he only managed to get just one out, but Garrett Whitlock came on and did a great job of cleaning up his mess before Matt Barnes shut the door.

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All in all, this was the Boston Red Sox team we had become accustomed to watching this season. Their lineup mashed all series long, they got solid starts from their pitchers, and their bullpen came in and closed up shop.

It can’t stop here though, as Boston heads into a mightily important series against the New York Yankees. This three game set ensures that Boston created a bit of breathing room between themselves and the Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays, while also gaining a bit of ground on the Rays. The Boston Red Sox finally look to have busted out of their slump, but they are going to need to continue their winning ways if they want this sweep to actually mean something.