Red Sox

Red Sox remaining schedule offers plenty of opportunities, plus 5 takeaways vs. Pirates

Could the Red Sox catch a heater as they get healthy?

Red Sox Pirates
Alex Verdugo of the Boston Red Sox celebrates his RBI double during the fifth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Red Sox manager Alex Cora often talks about the importance of winning a series during the regular season, and by beating the Pirates on Wednesday, the Red Sox clinched a series victory.

Far too often this season, that hasn’t been the case — the Red Sox started 0-10-1 in their first 11 series facing the American League East before finally beating the Orioles in a one-off game to get in the win column. Since, they beat the Yankees twice in three attempts. Wednesday’s 8-3 victory clinched another series against the Pirates — admittedly not an AL East opponent, but a win nonetheless with one more game remaining on Thursday.


After Thursday, things get interesting in the Red Sox’s pursuit of the wild card. Currently, they are four games behind the Blue Jays for the final wild-card slot, with the Twins, Orioles and White Sox all in between them.

Per Tankathon, the Red Sox have the ninth-most difficult strength-of-schedule remaining (as measured by opponent winning percentage). That’s largely because they face their wild-card opposition so many times — 10 games against the Orioles, nine against the Rays, six against the Yankees, six against the Blue Jays and three against the Twins. In other words, 34 of the Red Sox’s 44 remaining games will be against wild-card contenders.

It remains to be seen whether the Red Sox dug themselves too deep a hole — injuries, bad luck, poor fielding, internal drama, and myriad other factors still might keep this team out of the postseason after making the ALCS last year. But as the Red Sox get healthier, they can make up ground against wild-card opponents if they can beat their wild-card opponents.

Cora might be right: The rest of the Red Sox’s season might be contingent on their ability to win a series, and then move on and win the next one.

More takeaways

2. After his two-homer game against the Yankees on Sunday, Rafael Devers went 0-for-3 against the Pirates in the series opener, but he hit a sharp double in the ninth on Wednesday.


For Devers, the double was an impressive milestone.

Devers didn’t look particularly comfortable legging out his double, but he continued to play well in the field in a recent encouraging trend.

3. After he signed a major-league deal, reliever Jeurys Familia made his Red Sox debut on Wednesday, taking over in the ninth inning. The 32-year-old gave up three hits and a run in a shaky outing.

Fortunately for the Red Sox, they had already blown the game open with four runs in the final two frames, capped off by Kevin Plawecki’s bloop two-run single in the top of the ninth.

4. Josh Winckowski was supposed to pitch in relief of Rich Hill, but the Red Sox opted to give Nate Eovaldi a rest on Thursday. Eovaldi is dealing with trap muscle soreness, although he told reporters he felt like he probably could have pitched.

Hill threw five innings, giving up three hits and two runs before Ryan Brasier replaced him in the sixth. Winckowski will pitch against the Blue Jays on Tuesday.

5. Prior to the game, the Red Sox made a trip to the Roberto Clemente museum.
Alex Cora later told reporters the outing put “everything into perspective.”

The Red Sox and Pirates close their series on Thursday at 7:05 p.m.


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