(Associated Press, Reuters)
After posting a 4-10 record through their first 14 games, the Boston Red Sox are unbeaten in their last 4 games and are two wins shy of reaching the .500 mark for the first time this season. Sitting at 8-10, the Sox offense has exploded on this road trip thus far after sweeping the Minnesota Twins, and taking game one from the Chicago White Sox last night 10-3.
Felix Doubront has been the Sox most productive starter and picked up his first win of the year last night after going six innings and giving up three runs on five hits. Junichi Tazawa continues to impress in the bullpen after he was recalled to the team a few days ago as he went three innings of two-hit ball and picked up his first save of the year.
In their last five games, the Red Sox are batting a scorching .363 as a team with 10 home runs and 43 total runs scored. They are averaging more than 8 runs per game. Now you may be thinking to yourself, no lead is safe with this teams bullpen. While that was all true during the first 14 games of the season, the pitching staff as a whole has stepped up, but it still isn't where it needs to be.
Some other notes:
-Carl Crawford has been diagnosed with a sprained UCL in his elbow. The team has not released a timetable for his return but say it could be as long as three months. Needless to say, the Crawford signing seems to get worse as each day passes by.
-Bobby Valentine said lefty specialist Rich Hill could return to the team as soon as this weekend against the White Sox. Hill has thrown three innings for AAA Pawtucket giving up 1 ER, 2 hits, 5 Ks, and 1 BB. The Sox need all the help they can get in the bullpen and Hill will be welcomed with open arms. I expect they will move Justin Thomas down once Hill returns to the Big Club.
-Aaron Cook continues to deal in Pawtucket where in four games he is 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA in 27.0 IP. Cook has an opt out date of May 1st and can become a free agent if the Sox decide to let him go. If the Sox do sign him (highly recommended), it would give them the flexibility to move Daniel Bard back to the bullpen, which brings me to my next point.
-Moving Daniel Bard to the bullpen seems unfair, unethical, un-whatever, but it's what the Red Sox need as a team. Though he has done all the Sox could ask for as a starter, he is far more valuable in the bullpen. Alfredo Aceves is not a big league closer. He is an elite middle relief guy, but as we have seen he is overthrowing the ball which in turn makes him miss his spots, and 96 MPH fastballs over the plate get crushed by professional hitters.
UPDATE: The Red Sox recalled LHP Rich Hill from Pawtucket and sent Justin Thomas down.
Thoughts on anything, feel free to leave a comment.