Remember when Kevin Millar famously told The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy, “Don’t let (the Boston Red Sox) win today?” Well the rest of the American League East probably should re-watch “Four Days in October” right about now because Boston is leaving them all in the dust.
The Red Sox are 13-5 in September after picking up their sixth straight victory Tuesday in a 5-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles, and those six straight wins have come against the New York Yankees and Orioles.
That successful stretch has the Red Sox sitting pretty atop the AL East, and their magic number to clinch the division now is down to eight. They have a 91.5 percent chance to win the division, according to MLB.com, and their postseason percentage is 99.8 percent.
And you know what they say: success breeds confidence.
“I think there’s growing confidence in our clubhouse daily,” manager John Farrell told reporters, as aired on NESN’s “Red Sox Extra Innings.” “We’ve responded to a number of challenges, whether it’s on the road, whether it’s coming from behind in big ballgames in the division, those are key. And when you achieve those or succeed in those, that is a snowball effect that takes place. But to balance that out, no one is taking anything for granted.”
The bullpen finally seems to have come together with a healthy Koji Uehara getting the eighth inning and Craig Kimbrel closing things out in the ninth, and the Red Sox as a whole have the best ERA in the AL since the All-Star break (3.55). Plus, Hanley Ramirez and the rest of the lineup have been coming up with clutch hits — especially home runs — galore.
What team wouldn’t feel confident with all that working in its favor?
Let’s take a look at a few other notes from Red Sox-Orioles:
— Shocking stat alert: Ramirez didn’t record a home run or even a hit for Boston on Tuesday. But that didn’t matter, as David Ortiz and Mookie Betts provided some historic offense in the win.
Betts became the first player in Major League Baseball this season to reach 200 hits with his single in the third inning, and he joined Johnny Pesky as the only Red Sox to reach that mark before turning 24 years old.
Big Papi, meanwhile, belted his 36th homer of the season and No. 539 in his career in the seventh. Ortiz passed Dave Kingman (1986) for the most home runs by a player in his final season.
— So, about those bullpen woes…
Not bad. Not bad at all.
— Marco Hernandez, not Dustin Pedroia, was at second base in the Red Sox’s starting lineup Tuesday. Farrell said before the game that Pedroia was siting out with a knee injury.
“He needs a day to get some treatment on his left knee,” Farrell said, via WEEI.com. “In the series in Toronto he made that play up the middle and kind of twisted the knee a little bit on the throw. It’s a situation he’s been managing since that series. After (Monday) night, though, there seemed there was a little more swelling in the knee and needed a day to recover and get some additional treatment.”
Brock Holt won’t be available for the next two days after a death in the family.
— Remember when Big Papi destroyed a dugout phone at Camden Yards? Well, a reporter asked him before Tuesday’s game how he’d feel about getting a phone as a retirement present from Baltimore, and his response said it all.
But that wasn’t the only pregame gem from Ortiz.
Thumbnail photo via Evan Habeeb/USA TODAY Sports Images