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Sox Leading the AL East

The Sox finished up their four-game series against the Rays yesterday and are now getting ready for the Marlins. They are 3-1 and sit atop the AL East early in the season. Really, the Sox should be 4-0, but we can’t dwell on what we can’t change.

Starting Pitching

Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello and Hector Velazquez all had quality starts for the Sox.

  • Sale went six inning on opening day, only giving up one hit, three walks and striking out nine. Unfortunately, he received a no decision after a very poor 1/3 of an inning from Joe Kelly, in which he blew the 4-0 lead. On the bright side, it was a great start for Sale and he’s a consistent guy, so I expect similar performances throughout the season.
  • David Price also pitched a gem in his start. It was a battle between him and Rays nbc sports pricepitcher Roe, but he never broke. He went seven innings, giving up four hits and striking out five. Oh, and ERA: 0.00.
  • Rick Porcello got off to a decent start this year, which I felt was really important. He went 5.1 innings, giving up six hits, one walk, one earned run and striking out four. Another good sign: that run wasn’t given up early. Porcello usually gets in jams early but this time he was in control.
  • Hector Velazquez hung in there for the Sox, giving up only five hits, one walk, one earned run and striking out five over 5.2 innings. The Sox were able to take the lead after he gave up that one run early, giving him the win.
  • The bullpen looked pretty good in this series despite Joe Kelly’s fluke in the first game. Matt Barnes has had a strong 2.2 innings in which he has relieved for the Sox. He’s given up only two walks and has recorded three strikeouts and an ERA of 0.00. Craig Kimbrel gave a beautiful closing performance in games two and three. Overall: two innings, three strikeouts, one walk, and an ERA of 0.00.

X-Man the X-Factor

Although Xander’s bat was pretty cold come game four of the series, it seemed he was the only one really doing some damage in the first three games. His stats over that span: 8-12 with five doubles, a home run, two RBIs and four runs scored. Going into the Miami series, he is batting .471 with a SLG of .941 and an OPS of 1.412. I’d say the new hitting/batting coach is working out. I mean, I know a lot of people expected this type of start from J.D., but there’s nothing to worry about. It’s only been four games. He’ll heat up soon; everyone is different. But shout out to Xander for getting it done this series.

The Sox now head to the Jeter-owned Marlins for a two games series before heading home for their opener at Fenway. This is a new look Marlins team, who no longer has their superstars; essentially a start-from-scratch team. Hopefully the Sox can sweep this series and go home 5-1. Brian Johnson will pitch the first game, while Sale goes for the second.

Tune in to NESN tonight for the first game. First pitch: 7:10 pm!

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