WEEI – With the Chris Sale surprisingly allowing the Rangers to grab the lead with a two-run fifth inning… [Texas starting pitcher Martin] Perez was finally driven from the game thanks to one-out singles from Andrew Benintendi and Sam Travis.
Texas manager Jeff Banister replaced Perez with righty Sam Dyson, paving the way to two straight pinch-hitting moves by Farrell. The first came in the form of Mitch Moreland, who replaced Sandy Leon, the switch-hitter who was hitting just .209 from the left side. That led to an RBI single. The next was Josh Rutledge for Marrero, both right-handed hitters. That led to another base-hit, tying the game at 3-3.
After the two pinch-hit singles, the Red Sox officially jumped to the top of the heap in the majors when it came to pinch-hitting efficiency, having gone 8-for-19 (.421).
Just when you least expect it, John Farrell’s three-dimensional chess moves start to pay dividends. I’m not Farrell’s biggest fan, so I will admit that I was shocked to see that the Red Sox lead the majors in pinch hitting.
After a couple of weeks of treading water – going 5-7 between May 9 and May 21 – the Red Sox have scored a total of 20 runs in back-to-back wins against the Rangers. They’ve also made up some ground on the Baltimore Orioles, who are currently the top wild card team. The Orioles go on the road tomorrow after a 2-4 homestand that included a sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Twins.
And for all the talk about the quiet Red Sox bats, the Red Sox have scored more runs than the Orioles this season and have also given up fewer runs than the Orioles. Almost a third of the way through the season, the Red Sox run differential is fourth best in the American League. It’s not a perfect indicator, but it does seem to indicate that they are on the right side of the playoff bubble, and that things are starting to trend in the right direction.
So John Farrell should relax. It looks like he’s going to be in a job at least through mid-June.