(Aug. 4, 2016 - Source: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America)
Evan Marinofsky Contributing Writer
How's it feel to wake up to a 9-0 win, Red Sox Nation? I'd say it feels pretty good. Last night was a superb win over the Los Angeles Dodgers and it seems as if maybe, just maybe, the Red Sox caught fire.
Here's what I'm thinking on this rainy Saturday (at least it's raining here in Boston).
Steven Wright Needed Last Night
If anyone needed a complete game shutout, it was Steven Wright. In July, Wright pitched to a 6.23 ERA while somehow going 4-0 -- if that's not David Price-logic, then I don't know what is.
Wright had it all going on last night as he struck out 9, walked 1, and only gave up 3 hits. Wright's knuckleball even baffled the great Vin Scully.
If Wright can build off of last night's performance and be the guy he was in April, May, and June, the Sox will have another spot in the rotation solidified behind Rick Porcello. We know Wright is overachieving this year but if he can just get his ERA back under 3.00, all signs point to some much-needed success.
Mookie for MVP?
Since the All-Star break, Mookie Betts is batting .333 with 5 home runs, and 14 RBI. His season totals sit at 23 HRs, 73 RBI, and a BA of .309. He even won AL Player of the Month for July.
(July 31, 2016 - Source: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America)
Betts has been the best leadoff hitter in the league this year and could finish with 30+ HRs and 100+ RBI. For a leadoff hitter, that's incredible. Most expect just consistency out of their leadoff guy. For Betts, it's both consistency and power.
It may not happen, but Betts could very well win the AL MVP award. At the very, very least, he will get a few votes. Hopefully David Ortiz gets some as well.
Down the stretch, Betts' production will be very important for the team. He shows no signs of slowing down since he's been consistently great all season long. He probably won't replicate July ever again, but he could come close.
E-Rod and Price Need to Keep it Together
Both Eduardo Rodriguez and David Price had a good last month. Price had an ERA of 2.80 in July, while E-Rod's was 3.06. Both guys were projected to be the first two starters in the rotation at the beginning of the year.
Since then, things haven't gone according to plan. For the season, Price has an ERA of 4.30 while Rodriguez has a 5.91.
(July 15, 2016 - Source: Adam Hunger/Getty Images North America)
Each have done well in their past few starts and are on the upward trend -- especially Rodriguez. He has stopped tipping his pitches and seems to have more command. Price has had his spots all year in which he has been good, but it seems like there's always a bad start in the middle.
Nonetheless, they are going to be direly needed in these last two months. If the Sox want any shot at staying the Wild Card-race, E-Rod and Price will need to stay consistent.
They don't need to be great; They just need to provide quality starts when called upon. For Rodriguez, that's today at 4:05 PM ET against the Dodgers.
Ortiz Needs to Get Back on Track
David Ortiz is playing like an MVP this season and will definitely be a candidate. However, since the All-Star break, he's batting .225 with 3 HRs and 15 RBI. In August, he's batting .125.
We all want the Large Father to go out on top in his final season. To do that, he's going to need to turn it around in these last two months.
He also needs to get back on the MVP-track for other reasons.
The Wild Card-race in the American League is, and is going to be, absolute mayhem. It seems as though everyone is going for it and to stay in it, the Sox will need Big Papi to be cruising at the center of their lineup.
Need. More. Benintendi.
(Aug. 1, 2016 - Source: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America)
The love for Andrew Benintendi is rampantly being passed around Red Sox Nation. We want him to hit in every single inning of every single game. We want the ball hit to him in left field every single at bat just to see the baby-faced future of the league.
We just want Benintendi.
In reality, John Farrell will probably play him here and there but obviously not everyday. Just get the kid some experience and let him do his thing. Let MLB conform to him.
And by the way, the only person who can fuel our love for Benintendi, is Benintendi himself.
Follow me on Twitter:@emarinofsky for all of my Red Sox thoughts and opinions.