BOSTON — The Red Sox’ pitching has been working like clockwork. It’s a good problem to have when it means consistently shutting down the opposition.
Jake Peavy provided yet another solid start for the Red Sox on Saturday. He lasted seven innings while giving up two runs on five hits as Boston rolled to a 7-2 victory over the White Sox. The Red Sox have now given up three runs or fewer in 11 straight starts, with Peavy helping to spearhead the effort.
“We expect to do that,” Peavy said of the streak. “I know it’s not going to happen every time out, but we have five guys that we expect that out of. I think if you ask [Felix Doubront] what he expects [Sunday], he expects to give up three runs or less. When you expect to do that and you prepare to do that and you go out there and execute a game plan, it happens more times than not with the talent that’s in this room. Obviously, all streaks will come to an end, but I’m happy I wasn’t the guy to give it up, how about that?”
Red Sox pitchers, who surrendered just five hits in Saturday’s win, have not allowed more than eight hits in any of their last 11 games. The Red Sox are the first club since the 1991 Blue Jays to hold opponents to three runs or fewer and eight hits or fewer in 11 straight games, and Boston’s starters own a 2.15 ERA during the impressive run.
“One, it means the game is under control. And two, every time we bring a reliever to the mound, he’s rested and you’re typically going to get better performances out of those guys because of that and not being overused,” manager John Farrell said. “I think that the stretch that we’re on, we walk onto the field with a lot of confidence knowing that the game is going to be under control from the start.”
Peavy, who has started three of the Red Sox’ last 11 games, has been smack-dab in the middle of Boston’s recent success, which includes winning nine of its last 13. Peavy has been fantastic in his six starts since being acquired from the White Sox prior to the trade deadline, going 3-1 with a 3.18 ERA. Only once in those six starts — Aug. 9 in Kansas City — has the opposition posted more than two runs against Peavy, and he has a 2.08 ERA since joining the Red Sox if you toss out his six-run hiccup against the Royals.
“He’s been everything we could have hoped for since coming over here,” Farrell said. “He’s worked deep in games. He’s thrown a lot of strikes. He’s made some big pitches in key moments when he’s needed. And even when he’s gotten some traffic on the basepaths, he finds a way to minimize the overall damage and that’s held true in five of the six starts he’s made for us. A very strong competitor, as we see.”
Peavy’s smooth arrival is obviously just one component of the Red Sox’ recent pitching success, but it’s a big component. Solid pitching tends to be contagious, and Peavy has done his part to infect the entire staff, putting the Red Sox into a great position as they flip over the calendar for the final time this regular season.
“I don’t care how good your team is, pitching makes the world go ‘round in this game that we play,” Peavy said Saturday. “You can’t win without good pitching. Not just our starters, but our bullpen, all the way from Koji [Uehara] on down to Work [Brandon Workman] and Brit [Drake Britton] when they’ve been in there. We’ve done a nice job and our offense has picked us up for the most part. What I love about this team is it’s a team effort every night and that’s special. We have 25 guys, and we’re about to add more, pulling in the same direction and [who] find a way — any which way — whether it means we win 1-0, 2-1 or we win the way we won tonight. It’s a good team effort.”
Clay Buchholz, who was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA in 12 starts before landing on the disabled list, could join the Red Sox’ rotation as soon as Sept. 10. Theoretically, Boston’s pitching staff should become even better at that time, although it’s hard to expect much more from a unit that’s simply rolling right now.
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