BOSTON — The Red Sox are firing on all cylinders right now. Unfortunately, they appear a bit too far behind for a photo finish.
Boston has been on a pretty impressive run of late, going 6-3 over a 10-day homestand that culminated Wednesday night in a 10-4 bashing of the Toronto Blue Jays, one of the hottest teams in baseball.
After taking 2 of 3 from Toronto, the Red Sox now have won or split seven of their last eight series and are 14-7 since Aug. 18.
“We have been playing some aggressive, fast baseball lately,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “I know these guys are excited to come to the ballpark and make things happen.”
Boston isn’t mathematically eliminated, but an eight-game deficit in the American League wild-card race with just 23 games remaining might prove too wide of a gulf. Still, there are plenty of signs that point to better things to come for the Sox.
Let’s dive into some notes from Boston’s big win.
— David Ortiz is on the fast track to 500 career homers, but there’s a decent chance he’ll accomplish the historic feat outside Fenway Park.
Ortiz launched home run No. 498 in the third inning Wednesday night and now has hit six homers in his last 12 games. But the Red Sox are about to head out on a nine-game road trip through Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Toronto, all locales where Big Papi has had success.
“I know David has a very special bond with this city,” Lovullo said when asked if he’d prefer to see Ortiz hit No. 500 in Boston. “I know it’d mean a lot to him to have it done here, but he’s just so professional and just so locked in that it might happen on the road, and it’s going to be a great accomplishment no matter where it happens.”
— Joe Kelly’s impressive run might never end.
The Red Sox right-hander picked up his eighth consecutive win Wednesday night, laboring through 5 2/3 innings but allowing just one Blue Jays run on six hits.
Kelly now is 10-6 after entering August with a 2-6 record and has posted a 2.59 ERA over that eight-game span. So what does the 27-year-old think of his dominant stretch?
“I’m glad I’m not sucking anymore,” Kelly said. “Just trying to start pitching better.”
— Rusney Castillo is looking increasingly comfortable in left field.
Castillo threw out Josh Donaldson by a mile at second base in the first inning after playing Donaldson’s single perfectly off the Green Monster. He now has three outfield assists in his six games at the position, all of which have come at Fenway Park.
“Only playing that wall now for six games, it’s really impressive how quickly he’s adjusted to that area, and how much confidence he’s showing in making plays,” Lovullo said of Castillo.
“You can’t just go out there and wing it. You’ve got to know where everything’s at, and he’s done a really good job of that.”
— Pablo Sandoval exited the game in the fifth inning with mid-back tightness, but Lovullo said the decision to take him out was precautionary.
— Veteran left-hander Rich Hill will start Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays, Lovullo announced before Wednesday’s game.
Hill, a native of Milton, Mass., will slide in as Boston’s sixth starter. He spent three seasons with the Red Sox from 2010 to 2012 and signed a minor-league deal with Boston in August.
— The Red Sox made a few internal moves in baseball operations Wednesday.
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski announced the Red Sox have promoted team scout Brian Bannister to director of pitching analysis and development, named amateur scout Chris Mears the team’s pitching cross-checker and promoted international scout Gus Quattlebaum to director of professional scouting.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@projo
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