The Boston Red Sox are usually locked and loaded, ready to go for the postseason at this juncture in the season. Late September marks the time of year that other teams fear the Red Sox. In 2015, the Red Sox aren’t going to be in the equation to begin with. Their memorable series against the Tigers two years ago seems like a distant memory, yet to me it feels like they should be in a similar role this season. A bad start did them in, and the Red Sox never were able to recover. Most prominently, David Ortiz looked like a guy that needed to retire, going a long stretch without doing much for the Red Sox. It was well over a month before he got on track. Too late for them to catch up from their abysmal start to the year. I would be surprised if the Red Sox just sat back and did nothing in the offseason. Expect them to make a play for a bigtime free agent, say, David Price? The Red Sox will have to settle for playing simply for pride. They are currently 72-77, so yeah, if they didn’t have that start the Red Sox would probably be competing for the postseason right now. But that is baseball, a long bad stretch can doom a team, even one that occurred months ago.
The main reason the Red Sox got on track, mainly the offense, is because Ortiz got back on track. He is no longer in his prime, but he is much better than what he was showing there. Now playing better, the Red Sox have come around as well. Boston seems to like to have a good year and then regress the next season. However, they tend to bounce back the following season. I wouldn’t write them off in 2016, but for tonight, they have the Tampa Bay Rays to worry about. Matt Moore is on the docket for the Rays, for better or worse. Moore was supposed to be the pitcher that completed this team and gave them a better chance at earning a postseason spot, but Moore has faltered to give the Rays anything. It may be due to the fact he is coming off major shoulder surgery. Some respond well to that surgery and others careers are over. I don’t want to throw him under the bus yet, but lets just say that he better get his act together quickly. An important stretch for him to conclude the season.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox
Matt Moore (1-4, 7.06 ERA) vs. Henry Owens (3-2, 4.33 ERA)
You kind to have to feel for a guy that comes back from major shoulder surgery and pitches so poorly. Moore hasn’t been the same since, posting a 7.06 ERA this season, which is a huge increase from the 2.70 he tossed last season. Most concerning is his last two starts against the Red Sox, getting beat up for 12 runs in total, 6 runs in each game. Moore has also been a mess on the road, with a 8.64 ERA and 2.04 WHIP and .446 OBA. Is Fenway Park going to help him out today? Good luck with that.
Henry Owens has been great, other than two bad starts. Those two bad starts are reflected in his ERA, which has skewed his numbers up significantly. In 5-2 of his last seven games, Owens allowed 1 or no runs. In the games he got rattled, he got hit bad though, very bad for 7 runs each against the Yankees and Seahawks. So, when Owens is locked in he is very good, which he is more often than not. I expect him to look good against a bad Rays’ offense today. We have to fade Matt Moore here in this spot.
PICK: RED SOX TO WIN -129