There are of course over 20 games to go in the regular season, the Red Sox lead the AL East by 4.5 games.
They have been inconsistent to say the least but are finally showing signs of stringing victories together. The current streak stands at 8-2 and with a lot of home games left for them to make the playoffs.
Offensively, the team’s performance lands them in the top 10 of most categories apart from power. They rank 5th best BA (.263), 10th in RBI (537), 8th in runs (573), 6th in OPB (.334) and 9th in doubles (216). In these categories they compare favorably with all the pace setters such as the Nationals, the Dodgers and the Astros.
Some listless veteran bats
The Red Sox power rating has dropped horribly from last year. Currently they have just 124 HRs, SLG of .411 and just 13 triples. Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez lead the way with 18.
Xander Bogaerts’ production badly disappoints compared to last year. His current six home runs compare badly with the 21 he hit in 2016. Mookie Betts is not having the MVP-style-year he had last year, down across all batting stats. Jackie Bradley Jr. also lags in performance at the plate, despite being the best center fielder around.
Big bats emerge
New recruit Mitch Moreland may have had a sticky patch but has earned the nickname Mitchy Two Bags for good reason with 26 doubles this year so far.
Eduardo Nunez and Rafael Devers have made the most significant impact on the offense. Both have nearly carried the Red Sox since they appeared. Nunez is batting .384 and Devers is .348.
They have already contributed 10 HRs between them and injected a certain’ je ne sais quoi’ into the team. Something that was much needed.
Both catchers have been outstanding with Vazquez surprising many with his production at the plate.
Dustin Pedroia’s knee remains a considerable concern The veteran is currently batting .303 and remains the leader in the clubhouse. With Holt healthy and the emergence of Nunez, the Red Sox have the flexibility to make up for Pedroia’s absence on the field.
The key question focuses on whether someone will fill the leadership gap.
In pitching, the team closes in on the top of the tree only behind the Dodgers, the Indians and the Diamondbacks in team ERA (3.65).
The star of the show has been Chris Sale, the leading candidate for the AL Cy Young Award. He leads the ways in strikeouts with 241. Max Scherzer is next with 220. That shows Sale’s dominance.
Although David Price divides opinion among the faithfull, he is an important cog in the rotation, performing as he did last year despite periods on the DL. He will be needed when and if the post season beckons.
Last year’s CY Young winner, Rick Porcello, has been a little disappointing but has suffered more than most from a lack of run support.
E-Rod remains an enigma but Drew Pomeranz has been outstanding. With a 12-4 record and a 3.39 ERA, he will need to keep that form together and stay healthy.
The fifth starter remains a problem for the Red Sox and Doug Fister is not the solution.
The bullpen is pretty solid and is having a good year with Kimbrel doing what it says on the tin with 28 saves, 94 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.41.
Although Joe Kelly has pitched well, there is a concern about the relievers as a group. All are prone to giving up crucial runs at the wrong time. The strategy also seems unclear about their use.
Are you ready for some playoffs?
Play off baseball is different and the pitching staff will need to be on their mettle. Terry Francona showed what could be done. Let’s hope Farrell has the same command of his pitchers.
If the Red Sox don’t make the playoff its will be a disaster. They have the talent and the resources.
Betts, Bogaerts and Ramirez need to get their bats going on a consistent basis and the bullpen needs to get some consistency. They cannot afford to waste the efforts of the starters and lose tight games.