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the Red Sox have arguably exceeded expectations

 von elaine95 , 04.12.2018 08:00

BOSTON — What a perfect time for the Boston Red Sox to have a day off.Their weekend in St. Petersburg Kyle Barraclough Jersey , not only disaster in terms of suffering their first series sweep of the season, was made worse by the New York Yankees sweeping four games in Baltimore to close the gap in the American League East.Three games on Players’ Weekend, three losses by a combined count of 24-5.Article continues below ...“Sometimes you go through tough times,” Red Sox infielder Eduardo Nunez said after Sunday’s 9-1 blowout at the hands of the upstart Rays. “Off-day tomorrow and start all over again.“This happens in a long season. We know it’s not going to be easy all the way through. At some point, you’re going to have tough times. It was a very tough week for us. Turn the page and keep going. We’re in first place for a reason.”Now losers of five of the last seven games, the Red Sox are home for a quick pair against the lowly Miami Marlins before heading back out on the road. Boston left-hander Brian Johnson faces the recently suspended Jose Urena in the opener Tuesday night.The Red Sox swept two games from the Marlins in Miami as part of a nine-game winning streak and 17-2 start to open the season. Johnson won one of those games and Urena pitched a strong game in a no-decision in the other.Johnson is 4-3 with a 4.12 ERA overall but 4-1 with a 3.63 ERA in 10 starts (the team is 8-2 in those 10 starts). He gave up one run in six innings in the early appearance at Miami.Urena, suspended for six games after hitting Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr., pitched a complete-game two-hitter against the Washington Nationals before serving his suspension. He comes off the suspension to pitch and brings a 4-12 record and 4.50 ERA into the game.After the right-hander dropped his appeal, manager Don Mattingly , who criticized Urena for throwing at Acuna on the first pitch of a game after the Atlanta rookie had hit four homers in three games against Miami, said, “It makes sense from our standpoint. Obviously, Jose had to make his decision. I think he made a good decision, getting this thing on the back side of him, and working toward the rest of the year.“He wasn’t going to participate in the series coming up, so there was no reason to prolong this.”The Marlins come into this game 53-72, but have split their last 10 games.Mattingly returns to the park where he did so many good things during his playing career. He hit .313 with four homers and 30 RBIs in 65 games (58 starts) at Fenway, .292 with 11 homers and 79 RBIs overall against the Red Sox.Obviously Orlando Arcia Jersey , his bat can’t help in this series — as the Red Sox look to shake off their miserable weekend and get back on track.The Sox were swept for the first time in almost exactly a year — when they were outscored 25-4 in the first Players’ Weekend, that one at Fenway.“Just a bad weekend,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “That’s it. They’re playing great baseball. They play great here. They’ve done this to some good teams. It was just a bad weekend in (St. Petersburg). Day off tomorrow and we’ll get them Tuesday.”J.D. Martinez, the subject of triple crown talk through much of the season, has overtaken teammate Mookie Betts for the American League batting lead (.337 to .335). He is second to Khris Young in home runs (39/38) and leads in RBIs (110). The Boston Red Sox are headed to the postseason for the third straight season after defeating the Toronto Blue Jaysto clinch a playoff spot Tuesday.Boston Red Sox RedSoxGot the W and that postseason spot!馃憡 #DoDamageFINAL: #RedSox 7, Blue Jays 2. M75DUE9FEQA lot has gone into the Red Sox's success this year.After finishing second and sixth in the American League MVP voting over the past two years, Mookie Betts is positioning himself to collect baseball's highest individual honor in 2018.Betts leads all position players in WAR (9.1) on FanGraphs.J.D. Martinez, Boston's biggest offseason acquisition, is also tearing the cover off the ball Jonathan Villar Jersey , boasting a .636slugging percentage, 40home runs and 121RBI.On the mound, Chris Sale is the favorite for the AL Cy Young despite shoulder inflammation forcing him to miss a stretch of games earlier this year. The left-hander is12-4 with a 1.97 ERA in 23 appearances.Granted, some questions around the Red Sox's pitching remain.Here's the obligatory reference to David Price's 5.03 ERA in 17 playoff appearances.Likewise, Rick Porcello allowed seven runs in 8.1 innings over the past two years in the postseason. Boston didn't strengthen its bullpen ahead of the trade deadline, either."I know people keep talking about it, [and] you can always have more bullpen pieces," Red Sox president of baseball operationsDave Dombrowski said, per the Washington Post's Dave Sheinin. "[But] there is no perfect club. We think , realistically, our bullpen is pretty good."So far, the Red Sox have arguably exceeded expectations in manager Alex Cora's first season. Sure, Boston was expected to contend for a division title, but the team's 99wins are tied for fourthin franchise history.Having said that, the 2018 campaign will be considered a massive disappointment for many fans if the Red Sox once again bow out of the playoffs in the American League Division Series.The Cleveland Indians swept Boston in the ALDS in 2016, and the world champion Houston Astros knocked the team out in four games last year.A playoff series鈥攅specially of the five-game variety鈥攊s always unpredictable. A few bad breaks can change a team's fortunes drastically. But that does nothing to lessen the sting of seeing your team fall short of winning a title after making it to the postseason.Cora has been one of MLB's best managers in 2018, and the playoffs will provide him with another opportunity to display his tactical nous and show beyond a shadow of a doubt he's the man to lead the Red Sox to a ninth World Series title.

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