So much has been made of the Yankees injury bug thus far. With players like Judge, Stanton and Severino amongst others spending time on the IL, even the most biased Red Sox fan has to concede that what the Yankees have done without their stars is impressive.
However, there are 29 other teams and they have injury problems as well. The Red Sox are very much so in that category. Both the lineup and the pitching staff has seen players come and go from the IL all season.
A lot of of Red Sox nation may be overreacting to the team being just a game over .500 and eight games back of first. Me? I am still not worried. Some of the Red Sox injuries might be a lot more impactful then some might think. When it comes down to it, the Red Sox have had as many players on the IL as anyone this season. Including the Yankees.
What The Lineup is Without
The most important bat we’ve been without lately is Mitch Moreland. Mitch has been on the IL for a couple of weeks now, but appears to be nearing a return. While Moreland’s batting average might not appeal to the eye, he was swinging the power bat better than he ever had. He’s already at 13 home runs, which is just two behind his total from last season. Not only is Moreland ailing, but his first base contemporary, Steve Pearce, is as well.
Right when Pearce started to get going with the bat, his back started to bother him. Pearce isn’t expected back for at least another week or two, and when he does come back, there is going to be some tough roster decisions to be made. With Chavis earning his spot to stay, one of Pearce and Nunez could find themselves out of a job in Boston. Pearce needs to get healthy quickly so he can show he still has some value to this team.
Other hitters like Eduardo Nunez and Tzu-Wei Lin have spent time on the IL this year, along with Brock Holt. Holt is the most impactful name of the three, and having him back has already paid dividends. Holt came in with the game on the line last night and delivered. A clutch RBI single to tie the game in the 9th and send it to extras. Brock isn’t a game changer by any means. However, having that utility man and that reliable bat back on the bench is a huge boost.
Missing Some Team Leaders
Of course we can’t forget the struggle which Dustin Pedroia is going through. While he may not be the most impactful injury on the list, he’s another player on our roster who could be contributing but who’s body won’t let him. I still have faith for Dustin and I truly believe he can come back. Not having him even on the bench for morale is a loss for this team.
Finally, J.D. Martinez. J.D. had gone a little cold the last few weeks, I think a lot of it stems from the constant back spasms he’s been dealing with. Martinez has yet to be placed on the IL, but did miss four straight games at one point last week. He’s also missed and been pulled from various others. I definitely think more rest and more DH-ing needs to be in Martinez’s future. Getting him to the all-star break healthy (when he can rest) needs to be top priority for the Red Sox.
The Injuries to the Rotation
The one that I have start with would be David Price. Price spent a few weeks on the injured list, causing him to miss a handful of starts. That proved costly for Boston, as Price has been their best starter this season. That, coupled with the fact that the guys who replaced him, were nothing impressive on the hill. Since returning on May 20th after 18 days on the IL, Price has thrown 24 innings across five starts. In those five starts, he’s picked up three wins and allowed a total of only three runs and four walks. Having David miss a couple weeks certainly took a few W’s out off the win column for the Red Sox.
Then we turn to another devastating injury in the rotation, Nathan Eovaldi. Boston’s prized signing of the offseason, Eovaldi was off to a slow start even before having to have elbow surgery. He hasn’t made a start since April 17th against New York, which happened to be his best outing before being placed on the IL. Eovaldi might not have been anything to marvel at in his first four starts, but we can’t just forget what he did in October.
Even going down the stretch, Nate was fantastic and came through clutch in so many situations. Eovaldi is going to return before the all-star break and should make an immediate impact. At the very least, we know he’s going to give us a better chance to win than a lot of the spot starters who’ve taken his place since.
The Damage to the Bullpen
Three of the bigger innings-eaters in Brian Johnson, Tyler Thornburg and Hector Velazquez have found their way to the IL. This has caused Dombrowski to have to reach deep into the farm system to find bullpen arms. While Thornburg and Velazquez were not great, their replacements have been even worse. Not only that, but the pressure on the big four (Brasier, Workman, Barnes, Walden) has been increased to the point where they look overworked.
People can talk all they want about the Yankees injury problems, and I feel for them, I do. You always want to beat the best teams with all their best players. So hopefully for New York’s sake they can get healthy.
However, Boston’s injury woes have been just has bad and just as impactful. I think once we see Eovaldi return, and J.D. gets back to 100%, this team can get itself on track and still compete for the division.