Right now, the fact that the Red Sox are in second place by half a game really should not be an issue.
At 12-9, the Red Sox trail the Baltimore Orioles (12-8) by half a game in the standings. Keep in mind that this is the Orioles team who started the season 7-0, meaning that they are 5-8 in their last 13 contests. They may have caught some sort of momentum early. But their pitching staff really can’t hang around too long.
A Red Sox win tonight and an Orioles loss would flip the standings. Since the standings are based off winning percentages, it would give the Red Sox a divisional lead.
Tonight could be the night the Red Sox take first place. But Clay Buchholz is starting so it is no guarantee. Three of his four starts have not been games a team should be expected to win. At the same time though, he is facing the Atlanta Braves, who have the worst record in baseball (4-17).
It also helps the Red Sox case that their next series is against the last place New York Yankees (8-12). Yes, you read that right. The Yankees are in last place. That’s usually what happens when a team does not have quality pitching depth and does not go out and make any moves at the deadline last year or during the offseason.
While Rick Porcello and Steven Wright have pitched surprisingly well so far, the Red Sox pitching staff will be helped out even more with the returns of Eduardo Rodriguez and Carson Smith.
Wright had been filling in for Rodriguez in the rotation but the way he has pitched, there is no way he leaves it. Certainly, Rodriguez could take Joe Kelly’s rotation spot and no one would complain. After all, Kelly has a 4.80 ERA in 38 starts for Boston — not exactly Cy Young material.