Since starting 16-3 in July, the Sox have hit something of a bump in the road. They haven't been playing the sort of world-beating baseball that speaks of history these past two weeks, instead struggling to a 9-7 record thanks to an on-and-off offense with averages dragged up by impressively high peaks.
9-7 is good, certainly--it's a 91-win pace that, as of now, seems as though it would be good enough for the wild card even if the Sox had been playing like that all year. But it's not the sort of performance that seems likely to keep them on top of the Yankees. It's with that in mind that the Sox head into Seattle to face the last teem they swept: the Mariners.
Of course, this will not be quite the same team as the Sox faced in July. After all, the Mariners were arguably the biggest sellers at the deadline. Gone are Doug Fister and, of course, Eric Bedard. In return, the Mariners received Charlie Furbush (who will be starting Sunday) and Trayvon Robinson, who made his MLB debut last week.
Can the Sox return to form against these modified Mariners? Or will a short trip to the West Coast turn them in a different direction entirely?
Boston Red Sox (72-44) vs. Seattle Mariners (50-66)
Friday, August 12, 10:10 p.m.
John Lackey (10-8, 6.14 ERA) vs. Blake Beavan (3-2, 2.83 ERA)
Saturday, August 13, 10:10 p.m.
Josh Beckett (9-4, 2.17 ERA) vs. Felix Hernandez (10-10, 3.31 ERA)
Sunday, August 14, 4:10 p.m.
Tim Wakefield (6-4, 4.92 ERA) vs. Charlie Furbush (2-4, 4.46 ERA)