Coming off Monday’s tough loss to Tampa Bay, and a slide back into second place in the A.L. East, the Red Sox were granted an immediate opportunity to get back on track. That opportunity was called the Seattle Mariners, and so far, so good.
But as you know, there’s a big difference between winning two-of-three and a pulling off a sweep, especially at this point in the season, in front of the home crowd and against a team that’s currently seven games under .500. Not that the Sox NEED to win this game tonight, but damn it would be nice to win this game tonight.
Unfortunately, that means taking down Felix Hernandez.
Hernandez comes to Fenway in the midst of another typically atypical season in Seattle. He’s 11-4 with an AL-best 2.34 ERA and an AL-best 153 innings pitched. He’s first in WAR for pitchers, and in overall WAR. He’s third in strikeouts and third in walks/9. He’s just Felix being Felix, and that’s usually bad news for the opposition. Just like it was for the Sox back on July 8, when Hernandez held them to two runs over seven innings in an 11-4 Mariners win. Overall, the guy hasn’t picked up a loss since May 25.
But who knows? Maybe this is good. After all, if the Sox are ever going to make something of this season, they’ll have to do it against the best pitchers in the league. And obviously, as of late, that’s been a serious problem. In the last month alone, the Sox have been shut down by Hernandez, David Price (x2), Matt Moore, Hireki Kuroda and Jered Weaver. Maybe there’s no shame in that, but there’s no World Series ring either.
So while no one’s looking forward to tonight’s date with King Felix, on the bright side, the game certainly provides the Sox with another golden opportunity. Really, it’s a few opportunities. There’s the chance to hold their ground in first place. The chance to finish off a hard-earned sweep.
And most importantly, a chance to prove that they can take care of business against one of the best pitchers in baseball.
Bring it on, Felix.