Jon Lester and Max Scherzer, both bound to receive very rich contracts in free agency this upcoming season, will start opposite each other tonight at Fenway Park in the first game of what should be an interesting and revealing three-game series between Boston and Detroit.
The Sox have something to prove. They have struggled in several areas. Xander Bogaerts’ range at shortstop, right-hander Clay Buchholz’s inconsistency, Will Middlebrooks’ lack of power, offensive failures with runs in scoring position and shaky outfield defense all have prevented Boston from winning three straight games.
And the Red Sox haven’t come anywhere near their 2013 championship resilience. That fact was on display again in Minnesota the past three days.
Red Sox lost 4-3 to Minnesota in 10 innings yesterday afternoon after battling back from a 3-1 deficit with two outs in the ninth inning. That came after losing 8-6 to the Twins on Tuesday after overcoming a 6-2 deficit to tie it 6-6.
How did Boston lose two of three to the mediocre-at-best Twins instead of building off a successful week that saw it reach one game over .500 by going 4-1 against the Reds and Rangers?
Better yet, how did it lose two games in walkoff fashion against a Twins ballclub with a vulnerable bullpen?
Those two losses would have been wins for the 2013 Red Sox.
Boston Bruins forwards were criticized during this year’s playoffs for not finishing. Same goes for the Red Sox who are 5-9 in one-run games and 5-16 when their opponent scores first. They get close and then can’t finish the deal.
This team must play more consistent baseball, starting tonight against the Tigers, who boast the major’s best record at 24-12 (.667 winning percentage) and are the favorite to represent the AL in this year’s World Series.
But can this Sox team play better or will it sit around .500 all year?