Friday, May 07, 2010

Now is the Time

The Sox did it. They buckled down, put the disgraceful Baltimore series behind them, and came back home to sweep the Angels, proving they can still beat up on middling teams when given the chance. The team's battling splits in the last seven days are miles above their 2010 totals: compare .335/.419/.619 (Batting Average/On Base Percentage/Slugging Percentage) to .275/.351/.467, or the tOPS+ of 152 to the season's total tOPS+ of a perfectly average 100. Almost a third of the 40 home runs the team has hit this season have been hit since last Thursday. They're only striking out 18 percent of the time instead of 19 percent, and on and on.

Point is, the Sox are wicked hot with the bats right now and they have the chance to make the Yankees look bad in this coming series, starting with Phil Hughes and his obscenely low ERA. A series win this weekend would be the next step in rebuilding after the craptastic start to this season and demonstrate that Boston actually has the capability to outplay the big teams and make this Summer one of interesting possibilities in what could be a three-way competition for the AL East crown. A series win would be marvelous...

...but that would ignore the iffy pitching situation. Two of the games against Los Angeles were shutdowns where the Sox held the Angels to one run, but two of them were slugging matches where a win came from taking advantage of an LA pitching staff that's even weaker than the one in Boston. The Sox aren't going to get those kind of breaks this weekend without some extraordinary luck, so the pitching needs to step up the way the bats have and keep the Yankees off the bases. Now's the time to make an impact.