With a three-game sweep of the Mariners, the Red Sox managed to erase the sting of some prior missteps at Safeco Field, as we alluded to in our Three Keys. Boston now heads to Fenway Park for a six-game homestand. Before we look ahead, here is a look back on what we learned in Seattle.
Not only has Jon Lester won his last four starts but he is continuing to establish himself as one of the premiere strikeout artists in team history.
The lefty had 12 K's in a superior performance in the series opener and has at least 10 in each of the four straight wins. It is the longest such streak in the American League since Johan Santana did it in five straight starts back in 2004.
Additionally, Lester passed the 200-strikeout mark for the second straight season in the win Monday night. He joins Rogers Clemens (eight times), Pedro Martinez (6) and Smoky Joe Wood (2) as the only four pitchers in team history to reach that milestone more than once.
The fact that Jed Lowrie still needs a day off once in a while is a problem for multiple reasons. One, Marco Scutaro has essentially been made into the regular second baseman as his shoulder issues prevent him from being effective from the shortstop position.
Two, rookie shortstop Yamaico Navarro is simply overmatched. He was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Wednesday and is now 2-for-27 (.074) with eight strikeouts since joining the Sox.
Three, Lowrie continues to swing a bat the club would love to keep in there every day. He hit a pair of homers in the 9-6 win Tuesday night and now possesses a .492 slugging percentage to go along with as many walks (18) as strikeouts.
It's too bad Lowrie cannot do this on an everyday basis.
Keepin' the Dream Alive
Postseason predictors give the Sox a miniscule chance to make the playoffs. But the fact remains that they have shaved four games off their deficit with the wild card-leading New York Yankees in a span of nine games and they have six encounters remaining with the Bronx Bombers.
Before the rivalry resumes, Boston gets to host the reeling Toronto Blue Jays and the last-place Baltimore Orioles for six games at Fenway Park that could cut that deficit even more and perhaps (gulp) give the Sox the ability to control their own destiny in the final 10 games.