The Red Sox-Phillies series is tough for a contrarian

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I’m predisposed to being a contrarian. I’m no crazy iconoclast or uber-non-conformist — I drive an Accord for crying out loud — but that is the general impulse. If you tell me something is the best ever, I’m going to look for flaws.  If you hype something up, I’m going do my best to explain why everyone should calm down.  I honestly believe that taking such an approach aids in critical thinking, but I’m also totally prepared to admit that a good amount of the time it only makes you sound like a mild ass. Oh well. Can’t change what I am.

So you can understand my frustration at the Red Sox-Phillies series that begins in Citizens Bank Park this evening.  The two teams who were almost everyone’s pick to win the pennant. Big hitting against big pitching! A possible World Series preview!  The source of the frustration?  I can’t really argue with any of that.

I picked them to meet in the World Series before the season began, and if you put a gun to my head right now I’d say they’re still the favorites.  The Red Sox’ recent mini-slump notwithstanding, they are big hitting, leading the majors in scoring.  The Phillies have had a few bumps of their own — Ryan Madson and Roy Oswalt are out — but they still have the best ERA in baseball and it wouldn’t be easy to argue against their staff as a whole being the best in the game.

It is what everyone is saying it is.  There isn’t much room for being a contrarian here.  What an absolute drag!

Albert Pujols hit his 597th career home run

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Angels DH Albert Pujols smacked his 597th career home run, a two-run shot in the top of the first inning during Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rays. The blast was off of Erasmo Ramirez and marked No. 6 on the season for the future Hall of Famer.

Pujols finished 1-for-3 with the homer and a walk. After Wednesday’s game, he’s hitting a lackluster .244/.296/.378 with 34 RBI and 14 runs scored in 186 trips to the plate.

Pujols currently ranks ninth on baseball’s all-time leaderboard and is three shy of joining the 600-homer club. He’s currently 13 home runs away from tying Sammy Sosa for eighth all-time.

Chris Sale’s streak of starts with at least 10 strikeouts ends

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale entered Wednesday’s outing against the Rangers with at least 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive starts, tying a record he already shared with Pedro Martinez. He failed do break the record, racking up only six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Fortunately, the Red Sox scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh to put him in line for the win. Sale gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk.

After Wednesday’s outing, Sale is sitting on a 2.34 ERA with a 101/14 K/BB ratio in 73 innings. So far, so good for the Red Sox, who acquired Sale from the White Sox in December.

Sale previously racked up 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive games between May 23 and June 30 in 2015 with the White Sox. Pedro Martinez accomplished the feat for the Red Sox between August 19 and September 27 in 1999.