If you’re a Red Sox fan, this season has been the definition of a rollercoaster ride. There’ve been incredible highs, devastating lows, and you never know what twist or turn is coming next.
Boston’s four-game series against the Houston Astros this week has been a microcosm of that. Riding high off a three-game sweep in the Bronx over the weekend, the Sox promptly got blown out on Monday and Tuesday in Houston, getting outscored 16-7 and committing a whopping 5 errors. Alex Cora and Alex Verdugo got ejected, and many analysts declared Boston officially toast.
But wait, not so fast. The Red Sox clawed their way to a 7-5 win in extra innings on Wednesday, then erupted for an epic 17-1 rout on Thursday, salvaging a series split with their biggest win of the season.
Red Sox Rock Astros
Boston’s bats made things easy for Brayan Bello (7 IP, 1 ER), pouring on 11 runs in the first three innings and sending J.P. France to an early shower. Every starter notched at least one hit as the lineup pounded out 24 of them, including 7 doubles and 3 home runs.
Rookie call-up Wilyer Abreu led the way, going 4-for-5 with a double, his first big-league homer and 4 RBIs in just his third career game.
Say what you will about this flawed team, but they have shown plenty of fight all year long. Every time it seems like they’re dead and buried, they rise up and keep their playoff hopes alive.
It all started back in the offseason, which was a rollercoaster in and of itself. Boston made some exciting moves like signing Masataka Yoshida and locking up Rafael Devers, but also suffered the crushing departures of Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez and Nathan Eovaldi. That should have given us a clue about what kind of season this was going to be.
Boston started slow, losing eight of its first 13 games and getting swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays. Then the Sox won six of eight to snap out of it, the first of many whiplash-inducing stretches.
May saw an eight-game winning streak immediately wiped out by a 1-6 stretch, then followed by four straight wins and four straight losses. June was similarly erratic, with a six-game winning streak sandwiched between a 3-8 skid and another 1-7 rut. With Boston sitting below .500 heading into July, things were looking bleak.
The Red Sox came alive by winning 11 of 13, suddenly putting themselves in the playoff hunt by mid-July. A five-game winning streak kept hopes alive, only for another 1-7 stretch and an underwhelming trade deadline to dash them once more.
Fortunately for Boston, the middle of August brought an easy schedule with series against the Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers, Washington Nationals and New York Yankees. The Sox took care of business, going 9-4 against those sub-.500 clubs to give themselves a chance heading into the brutal part of their schedule.
Fighting the Astros to a draw was impressive, but now Mookie Betts and the Dodgers come to town for the weekend. Then the Astros fly in, and they’ll surely want revenge after Thursday’s embarrassment.
Which version of Boston will show up at Fenway Park over the next week? Will it be the scrappy, hard-hitting bunch that has managed to keep its head above water all season? Or will it be the Bad News Bears imposters who fumble away games with their sloppy defense and poor baserunning?
Nobody knows, so buckle up and hang on tight.
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