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Red Sox Game 58 Reaction: Mustered up a win

Highest WPA: Xander Bogaerts, .488 (1-4, 2 RBI)
Lowest WPA: Clay “We can call him Suckholz again” Buchholz, -.231 (4 2/3 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K)

Well, that was unexpected.

For most of eight innings, it certainly looked like another loss. But no matter how the team underperforms for any given stretch, you have to respect the ability of that lineup to put together a big inning.

The pitching… well, that’s back to being the question mark. Clay Buchholz was the bad, worthless Clay we have basically resigned ourselves to as being the real thing – despite a solid patch of evidence to the contrary. But yet again, Steven Wright proved my pessimism an overreaction to his control issues and kept Boston in the game. The only bad news? He did so as the first relief appearance since the announcement that he was losing his rotation spot in favor of letting Joe Kelly start every five days.

Yeah, that still makes no sense. But hey, the offense got to the good part of Oakland’s shallow bullpen, and spends another day not falling farther out of contention. Those are good things. And maybe a few more nights of hard contact against Joe Kelly’s fastball will make John Farrell reconsider his allocation of pitching “assets.” Fortunately, we have an Eduardo Rodriguez between us and the next such hitfest.

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Red Sox Game 55 Reaction: Goog was right.

We need to respect each other’s pessimism more.

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Red Sox Games 53-54 Reaction: May’s over; oh crap, it’s May

Highest WPA: Eduardo Rodriguez, .212 (7 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 7 K, ER)
Lowest WPA: Mike Napoli, -.098 (1-4, HR, 4 LOB)

Boy, this team just suddenly looks different. Facing a surprising first-place Minnesota ballclub, they built on last night’s win and look like they’re turning the page after a 10-19 month of pitiful failures. Maybe it’s psychological; the day off and a new month have them pressing a bit less –

Highest WPA: Rick Porcello, .084 (8 IP, 5 H, 5 K, 2 ER)
Lowest WPA: Brock Holt, -.099 (0-3, stranded the two baserunners the team had)

Oh, okay, just make Trevor May look like a right-handed Eduardo Rodriguez. Fuck these guys, it’s over.

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Red Sox Game 52 Reaction: Wait, what?

Highest WPA: Clay Buchholz, .552 (8 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 8 K)
Lowest WPA: David Ortiz, -.169 (1-4)

Holy shit, the Red Sox can avoid losing without being rained out? Who knew?

Yet another day goes by in the season of “hey, they’re still in striking distance.” It’s not exactly a strong endorsement when your whole season’s upside hinges on your rivals’ mediocrity, but hey, you take what you can get.

On that note – maybe Clay Buchholz is actually a useful member of a major league rotation?

Yeah, I know, the euphoria of winning a game has me saying crazy stuff I’ll laugh at tomorrow.

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Red Sox Game 51 Reaction: Of course.

Highest WPA: Xander Bogaerts, .181 (3-4, RBI)
Lowest WPA: Koji Uehara, -.800 (2/3 IP, H, BB, 2 UER)

Winnable game in spite of the fact it’s a Joe Kelly start? Koji Uehara, who is in the upper echelon of Red Sox I would trust in a big spot at this point, on the mound? Yeah, of course Josh Hamilton gets the walkoff hit. Of course. There was never even a doubt in my mind, just a matter of “well, let’s see how exactly they blow this one.” Because that’s the 2015 Red Sox.

Also: we have 111 more games to play? I’d say that’s cause for hope that we could outplay some really unimpressive divisional competition, but it’s only slightly hyperbolic to note we could just challenge for the all-time loss record instead.

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Red Sox Game 41 Reaction: What am I doing?

Highest WPA: Xander Bogaerts, Fangraphs acting up but “above zero” is impressive these days (2-2, BB)
Lowest WPA: Hanley Ramirez, -.225 (0-4, 2 LOB)

When I wasn’t playing The Show tonight, I was watching this garbage. I am bad at The Show, with very little plate discipline and lately no ability to pitch strikes. To top it off, either my Internet or the network is wonky and graphical glitches dominated games.

I still should have stuck with that instead of the Sox.

I don’t know why I bother. Sure, it’s some form of addictive behavior and habit, but I’m not even chasing the highs anymore; once they gave up that back-breaking third run, there was no sense the Red Sox could get back in it. Instead, they made Wandy Rodriguez look even better than they made Phil Klein look last night.

Of course, I’d be lying if I said I had no hope at all for this whole season; no one outside the Central division is running away with a playoff spot. Maybe these guys put it together and pitch like May while also hitting like April. But while I don’t see the rotation reverting to “historically terrible,” I also don’t see Ramirez making it through June without a DL stint. Maybe it’s coincidence, but the simplest explanation is “dude hurt himself that play he looked like he hurt himself, causing subsequent sucking.” I’m going with that.

But hey, cheer up; at least Allen Craig is giving AAA pitchers something to feel good about.

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Red Sox Games 32-34 Reaction: Two out of three

The most profound takeaway from this series is that Justin Masterson is so bad the team is no longer denying it, and has resorted to a blatant use of phantom injury to get him off the roster. Maybe something physical IS wrong with the righty, but obviously, it’s just that he’s pitching very poorly despite any post hoc diagnoses that help rationalize it.

But hey, we already knew he was very bad. Steven Wright is most likely worse, but throwing all sorts of crap at the wall to see what sticks is the first step to finding a solution. The team won Porcello’s start – which is basically a must – and apparently Wade Miley is in negotiations to sell his soul to the dark gods of BABIP; somehow he parlayed a four-walk, one-strikeout, five-hit outing into almost seven shutout innings.

Of course, the team still has a less-than-100% Hanley Ramirez, an offensively floundering Xander Bogaerts, and basically no answers in right field or behind the plate. But every day that goes by with the Red Sox winning in spite of those facts is a day closer to the potential for a very flawed team to make a late run, so yeah, I’m okay with it for the next 28 hours.

Jackie Bradley Watch: The last “next great Red Sox” went 0-5 with a walk and a strikeout for the series. It still looks for all the world that he is the elusive “Quad-A” player who can’t translate AAA success into any sort of competent big-league hitting despite never giving scouts red flags on his “tools” or “makeup.”

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