BALTIMORE -- Just a guess here, but without his game-winning, three-run home run off Joba Chamberlain on Sunday night in Detroit, David Ortiz probably isn’t tweeting “Beautiful day in Baltimore. Let’s go Sox” on Monday morning.
The Sox have exactly 100 games left on their schedule entering Monday night’s game here against the Orioles, and while Ortiz’s home run unburdened them of a five-game losing streak, some things are going to have to change for the Sox to get back into this thing.
Here are a few:
* The Sox have to start winning some games within the division. They’re 12-17 against teams in the AL East; only Tampa has a worse record. And while Joe Maddon won’t appreciate the sentiment, with the 24-40 Rays 14 games out and on a pace to lose 101 games, they won’t be playing October baseball this season. The Sox have actually won four out of seven from the Orioles this season, so this might be a good place to start.
* The Sox have to start beating a few right-handed pitchers. You’ve heard this one before, but their 15-25 record against righties is by far the worst in the American League. They face righties Bud Norris and Chris Tillman the next two nights.
* They have to start winning a few more one-run games. You’ve heard this one, too. Their 13 one-run losses are the most in the AL and just one fewer than major-league leader Cincinnati; Ortiz’s home run spared them from matching the Reds.
* They have to start beating the better teams. They have just a 15-24 record against teams with a winning record; only the Rays and Astros have been worse.
* Jake Peavy has to win one. Peavy hasn’t won a game since April 25. That’s his only win of the season. He is 0-2 with a 7.04 ERA in his last five starts.
* The Sox need to exploit their scoring chances. You’ve heard this one, ad nauseum. The Sox were 6 for 46 with runners in scoring position, 1 for 11 on Sunday, until Ortiz delivered. Having Mike Napoli back (home run in his first game back on Sunday) should help.
* The outfield has to offer something. The best game by an outfielder all season was by an infielder. Brock Holt, in his first start ever in left field, had four hits Sunday. Jackie Bradley Jr. has had eight multi-hit games all season, topping out at three (twice). Bradley is 6 for 39 (.153) with 13 K’s in his last 10 games. He is sitting Monday night; Grady Sizemore is playing center field.
* Stephen Drew, come on down. Drew is just 1 for 11 since his return, and sitting for the third time in seven games Monday, even though he is 6 for 13 in his career against Norris. We all knew this would take time after he missed the first two months, but a hit or two would help.
The silver lining? The all-powerful AL East isn’t scaring anyone these days. The Blue Jays are the only team in the East with a winning record in their last 20 games, going 15-5. The Sox are 8-12. Go back 30 games, and the story’s the same. The Jays are 21-9; everyone else is sub-.500, including the Sox, who are 13-17.
That’s why it’s not all Bleak House just yet. The Sox are nine back in the division, but just five back in the wild card.