By Matt Straub
I was visiting my father in the hospital the other day and he, my brother and I were watching the Red Sox. My mother came in and asked without provocation: "Oh, the Red Sox. Are they losing yet?"
It's been that kind of year. But coming on the heels of another team meeting and a win, plus a bit of a book on the Braves which comes from having just split with them in Boston, gives us Red Sox fans a little hope going into this two-game trip to Atlanta.
Other than being a ridiculous scheduling quirk, it's a chance for Boston to feel good about itself and the fans to stop asking if they're losing for a day or two. My family hopes, anyway.
Boston Red Sox (28-38, 8 GB in AL East)
at Atlanta Braves (31-34, 4.5 GB in NL East)
Wednesday, 7:10 p.m.
Joe Kelly (2-4, 5.45 ERA) vs. Alex Wood (4-4, 3.56)
Thursday 7:10 p.m.
Clay Buchholz (3-6, 4.22) vs. Shelby Miller (5-2, 2.02)
The teams split in the first leg of this series in Boston, but the Red Sox seemed to be enjoying themselves for the first time in a while. Brock Holt hit for the cycle, and the Red Sox were enjoying each other's company. We know they are miserable losers, but let's see what happens with the new "us against the world" attitude after a win. Maybe it will work. Atlanta stinks, is mostly a collection of misfits from other teams, and can't get much going.
Three Braves To Watch
1. Miller is one of the more underrated pitchers around. He's off to an outstanding start, and the Sox could use a win tonight to avoid needing to beat Miller for a split.
2. Wood has mastered a new pitch, a change up, and has been tough this season. The Mets roughed him up a little bit, but the Sox have a chance against him.
3. Chris Johnson isn't a big name, but he has hit both of Boston's starters well and could be a threat in these two games.
A trip to play the American League All-Stars is next. The games are in Kansas City against the team formerly known as the Royals.