The Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers are two teams going in completely different directions. Sunday’s afternoon game encapsulates the way it has been going for each team. Despite an extremely uncharacteristic good start from Red Sox starter Joe Kelly, the Rangers pulled off a comeback, walkoff win off the bat of who else, but Josh Hamilton.
The Rangers had an abysmal April finishing 7-14. May, however, has treated them well with a 18-11 record. Coming into Sunday afternoon’s matchup, the Rangers had won 10 of their last 13 games. The addition of Josh Hamilton has made the team look and feel different. They appear to have gotten back the swagger they had when they made it to the World Series in 2010 and 2011.
Despite not having Matt Harrison, Martin Perez and Yu Darvish, the Rangers are above .500 and playing better by the week. The Rangers now find themselves just five games behind the A.L. West leading Houston Astros, a team that has had hot start nobody was expecting.
As good as things have been going for the Texas Rangers they appear to be souring for the Red Sox. One theme is appearing to be more and more prevalent as the season wears on; inconsistency. Hard to find a night where the offense and pitching both show up, and when they do, the defense lets them down. It’s always been something with this 2015 Red Sox team who currently find themselves a season worst seven games below .500.
Sunday’s game is the most recent example. Joe Kelly’s future with the team has been widely debated for the past few weeks. The latest prodigious start made by Eduardo Rodriguez has added fuel to the fire regarding Kelly’s future and possible demotion, either to the bullpen or Triple-A. So of course, in typical Red Sox fashion, Kelly goes out and gives up only one ER in five innings. While the Red Sox got everything they wanted from their struggling starter their offense sputtered yet again and an uncharacteristic error in the 9th inning ultimately did them in.
Sunday’s start was the 9th in a row in which Joe Kelly failed to get a win. However, despite a horrible track record, this time it was actually not his fault. Not only did the offense continue to leave runners in scoring position, but the defense faltered as well. It was Sandoval’s error in the final frame that eventually lost Boston the game.
Kelly’s outing was definitely a move in the right direction. Contrary to his season averages, the righty was using a lot more his auxiliary pitches to keep the Rangers guessing. Even the runs that did score were not on sharply hit balls.
While the result is definitely better, it is far from enough to make the Fenway Faithful forget his previous outing, a blowout at the hands of the Twins in which Kelly allowed eight hits and seven runs in just 1.2 IP. Kelly is definitely on the short list for odd man out in the Red Sox rotation. Coming into today’s game Kelly’s ERA was the second highest among all American League starting pitchers. Even after the solid performance in Texas, Kelly’s ERA is just shy of 6.00.
The Red Sox are starting a four-game set against the surging Minnesota Twins. It will be interesting to see what changes will be forthcoming. Despite an incredibly underwhelming start to the season and being in last place in their division, the Red Sox are just four games behind first place. The Red Sox have the pieces to go out and make a move, but will it be worth it?