New England Sports React

Boston’s Back (To Winning)

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Brock Holt has been a Godsend to a team that’s been ailed by injuries and inconsistency.

Guess who’s back? Back again. Boston’s back, winning again.

Ok, that was kind of lame, I’ll admit, but what isn’t lame is the fact that the Red Sox have won seven straight after a historic 10-game losing streak, adding their most recent victory Sunday in what turned out to be a three-game sweep of the Rays. It began Monday on the heels of one of the longest winning droughts in team history, with a four-game home-and-home against one of the top contenders in the National League, the Atlanta Braves. It continued with three consecutive victories against their new division rival, with bad blood spilling over yet failing to deter from the Sox’ winning ways. And hopefully, a long road trip won’t do anything but add to the team’s laundry list of wins.

Not surprisingly, the winning streak was spurred by consistent pitching. Apart from Clay Buchholz’s abysmal start in Atlanta, which yielded six runs in just three innings of work (an 8-6 victory), Sox pitchers have allowed three runs or less in every game of the current streak. Everyone who touches the mound seems to produce a quality outing, from Jon Lester to the lesser known Rubby De La Rosa (7 IP, 4 H, 8 SO this past Saturday) to Koji Uehara and Pawtucket product Alex Wilson. Attacking hitters by throwing a high volume of strikes has been the concurrent strategy, proving, of course, to be very effective. Opposing hitters have looked a tad off-balance, to say the least.

Sox hitters, meanwhile, have been tearing the cover off the ball. The hits have come in bunches, with utility infielder Brock Holt surprising many by leading the pack offensively. Holt’s production started early this season, and once Will Middlebrooks went on the DL, the kid took full advantage of his opportunity to shine. His consistency is what has surprised baseball aficionados and Sox fans alike; Holt is now batting 337/.385/.500 with one homer, nine doubles, one triple, three stolen bases and 11 RBIs in 86 plate appearances since being recalled to the team May 17th. Unlike Joel Hanrahan, this guy appears both durable and ready for the blinding BeanTown spotlight.

Besides Holt, the Sox’ other offensive catalyst has been Xander Bogaerts. Ever since the team decided to add Stephen Drew, Bogaerts has been in the zone at the plate. Notably bitter when commenting on the move, he has played like a man with something to prove. Preceding his 0-for-5, three-strikeout performance yesterday afternoon, Bogaerts had contributed to the winning streak with a streak of his own, a five-gamer that included a trio of three-hit games. Overall, he hit .500/.560/.682 with four doubles, two RBIs, three walks, and three strikeouts in 25 plate appearances over that five-game stretch. If these two (as well as the pitching staff) keep up their production, the Sox will definitely stay in contention while getting their injured starters healthy.

-Ryan Hartley

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