Although the first game of the series against the Blue Jays didn’t go as planned, the last two have provided a much-needed boost of optimism. The Sox have been counted out in the American League ever since the Indians went on a roll and the Astros added Justin Verlander. Despite recent shake-ups, the Red Sox still have just as good of a chance as either of the top teams in the American League to make a postseason run.
The three-game series against Toronto came and went without the Red Sox using one of their top two starting pitchers. Sale and Pomeranz can match up with any of the top two pitchers in the American League. Pitchers duels should be expected no matter who the Sox go up against in the ALDS.
The Sox just won two games without using their top two starters and held a still-strong Blue Jays lineup to just three runs. If the Sox bottom two starters can take at least one game in the ALDS, the Sox could be well-positioned to enter Game 5 with either Sale or Pomeranz on the mound, depending on who pitches Game 4.
The bullpen’s strong performance this week is also a key factor when looking at a possible playoff series. The Blue Jays lineup is the strong point of their team, but over the two wins, the Sox pen kept the Jays scoreless in fifteen innings. Carson Smith looked sharp in his return, and was one of many positive takeaways from the Toronto series.
If Boston can find a way to duplicate the success of their last two starters in the playoff rotation, it will take a lot of pressure off of Sale, Pomeranz, Porcello, and Fister, and they should be in good shape going forward into the playoffs.