After starting this 10 game home stand with a 3-3 record and hitting the first down spot of the season, one that featured the first place Boston Red Sox dropping both games of a doubleheader last Sunday against the Kansas City Royals and bottoming out with Alfredo Aceves terrible performance during and after the game against the Oakland A’s, the Red Sox have started to rebound.
That rebound comes in the form of the Houston Astros having come to town. It is unlikely that the Red Sox will play an easier team this season. The Red Sox have outscored the Astros 14-5 in the first two games of the series, both games felt like blowouts that were hardly in question.
The Astros are already 7-16 and taking up the basement of the AL West this season, it’s first in the American League. Only 23 games into the season and the Astros already have a negative -41 run differential. In the month of April, a month that notoriously favors pitchers and effects hitters, that’s not a good sign for this summer.
The Red Sox have to display killer instinct and that comes from the starting pitchers the next couple of days. Felix Doubront has to throw strikes tonight and limit his walks. Doubront needs to give the Red Sox seven solid innings tonight while keeping his walks and pitch count down. Sunday looks likely to go to John Lackey, almost giving him another rehab start to work out his bicep issues.
Boston struggled at home last season, losing much of their home field advantage as the season progressed. This home stand allows for the Red Sox to build some positive momentum if they can turn in a 7-3 streak before heading back out on the road.
In a division that figures to be tight all season, all four of these games are critical. While winning three of four might be viewed as a positive, the Red Sox have to make sure not to settle for that.
The Red Sox need to sweep the Astros and send a message that they are going to take care of business this season against the second-tier teams.