Can The Red Sox Reach The Post Season?

The Red Sox captured first place this summer and have hardly let go since. While the Yankees nip at their heels, Chris Sale’s arm and the rookies’ bats keep the Bronx Bombers at bay.  On top of that, the Red Sox are creeping closer to finding a groove in a post-Ortiz world. But despite their recent stretch of wins, can the Red Sox reach the post season?

Their Pitching Is (Almost) There

The Red Sox are definitely getting their money out of Chris Sale. He’s leading the AL inRed Sox reach wins, ERA, and strikeouts. He also pitches a fast game, which counts for a lot in an era where games last 3+ hours. Eduardo Rodriguez is almost healthy enough to begin carrying wins of his own. While he’s still young, his ability to accumulate seven or eight strikeouts a game is often overlooked. Drew Pomeranz came out of nowhere this year after a terrible debut season and already has double-digit wins. Joe Kelly can throw 100 MPH and serves as a good middle reliever. Craig Kimbrel always saves the game. David Price and Rick Porcello though? One’s a hot-head and the other is trying to stave off joining the 20-losses in a season club.

Their Rookies and Newcomers Will Help The Red Sox Reach The Post Season

Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers quickly dispelled any concerns they weren’t ready for the big leagues when they came up. Benintendi is a solid offensive as well as defensive guy. Devers is hitting home runs left and right. Eduardo Nunez seems to love playing in Boston. Even the veteran journeyman Chris Young can still make opposing pitchers shake in fear. Dustin Pedroia isn’t 100% (and may never be again) and Hanley Ramirez can’t quite lift his batting avert above .275. Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. still command the outfield as well as they can hit home runs. So will all this be enough to reach the post-season?

Yes.

Red Sox Rookies and Newcomers Carry The Team

The Red Sox rookies are posting some amazing debut numbers! Rookies Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, and veteran newcomer Eduardo Nunez are tearing up the American League. The arrival of the first two concerned people who thought they came too soon. While many of the Red Sox are on the disabled list or slumping at the plate, these Red Sox rookies are on fire.

Andrew Benintendi came up late in the 2016 season straight from Portland. Hered sox rookies bypassed AAA and quickly proved that he belonged in the MLB. He hasn’t left since. Benintendi hit .295 in 34 games with the Red Sox in 2016, including a home run in the ALDS against the Indians. He earned a place in left field too with his above average defensive skills. He’s also on pace for a 20+ home run season and should received the Rookie of the Year Award.

Rafael Devers has only played fifteen games as of August 15rd but he’s hitting .339 in 64 plate appearances, nothing to shrug off. He also hit six home runs in those fifteen games. On August 13th, Devers hit a home run that came in at 102.8 miles per hour off Aroldis Chapman. According to Statcast, Devers hit the fastest pitch-turned-home run recorded since experts started tracking such statistics in 2008. That’s impressive for anyone. For a 20-year old rookie though? It’s nothing short of amazing.

Veterans Add Their Own Clout Alongside Red Sox Rookies

Eduardo Nunez, who came to the Red Sox from the San Francisco Giants, contributes years of skill to Red Sox offense. A 2016 All-Star, Nunez comes as a boon to the Red Sox. In 68 plate appearances as of August 14th, Nunez has a .382 average with four home runs.

The Red Sox won’t reach the playoffs because of regular players. Dustin Pedroia or Hanley Ramirez will play a role but not a big one. That accolade should go to the these newcomers and acquired veterans.

Name Andrew Benintendi Rookie of the Year

Before the All-Star break, many thought Aaron Judge would coast to MVP and Rookie of the Year trophies. He broke Joe DiMaggio’s rookie home run record in just 82 days. He won the All-Star Home Run Derby. But then the All-Star break came and went. Now As of August 12th, Judge has a .182 average with only five home runs since the break. At this point it’s difficult to name him the Rookie of the Year. That’s why the powers that be should name Andrew Benintendi the American League Rookie of the Year.

Benintendi has maintained his pace of play all season and is only getting better. He blasted Name Andrew Benintenditwo home runs against the New York Yankees on August 12th. He also hit two home runs against the Texas Rangers on July 4th in a 5-for-5 day at the plate with with 6 RBI and double. That game ended in a 11-4 victory for the Red Sox. These numbers, while not as strong as Judge’s, still support the argument that he should be the Rookie of the Year.

Name Andrew Benintendi Alongside Fred Lynn As Two Rookie Greats

It’s hard for any die-hard Red Sox fan not to think of Fred Lynn when they watch Benintendi. Lynn had a MVP and Rookie of the Year-winning season in 1975 that also included a Gold Glove and All-Star appearance. Not to mention the Red Sox went onto the World Series that year.

But here’s why they should name Andrew Benintendi the Rookie of the Year. He’s maintained a consistent pace this year and it’s helped keep the Red Sox in first place. There isn’t much of a correlation between Aaron Judge’s hitting and the Yankees place in the AL East. The Yankees fell out of first long before Judge’s slump. But there’s been much more consistency with Benintendi. He’s also an amazing outfielder and base runner.

Judge isn’t going to recover from his slump anytime soon. Not to mention it would be very awkward if Judge for the RoY award after such a poor post-All-Star break. So name Andrew Benintendi the Rookie of the Year as he is the more deserving player.

Red Sox Winning Streak Reflects New Focus

The Red Sox winning streak of six games is debunking the idea that the team is still struggling from David Ortiz’s absence. Not only has the Price/Eckersley hoopla finally died down, but their rookies are coming alive too. This Red Sox winning streak is a sign that Boston will surely contend for the World Series title come October.

Rookies Contributing To Red Sox Winning Streak

The Red Sox struggled after the All-Star break and briefly relinquished first place to theRed Sox winning Yankees. Then a sweep of the Indians and White Sox not only moved them back into first place, but it also gave its rookie stars the attention they deserve. Between August 1st and 8th, Andrew Benintendi hit .462 with a home run effectively breaking out of his slump. Raphael Devers is hitting .349 in 49 plate appearances with three home runs as of August 7th. That comes after hitting 20 home runs in 86 games in AA and AAA this year.

Veterans Also Contributing To Red Sox Winning Streak

MLB veterans like Chris Young and Eduardo Nunez also showed Red Sox Nation that they still have plenty of steam left to help win. Young slammed two home runs, including a tie-breaking shot in addition to driving in five ribbies against the White Sox on Sunday. Nunez, a late season addition to the Red Sox, has 4 home runs with a .400 batting average in the nine games he’s played with Boston so far. These two play with a zeal that clearly reflects their love for the game.

The Red Sox rookies and veterans are playing baseball like kids on sandlot do. They’re eager to contribute. They play to win. And they know they can reach the World Series. Some say the remaining problem lies with its other veterans. Hanley Ramirez hits for power but not average. Dustin Pedroia landed on the DL again, as did David Price. If these three can capture some of the same enthusiasm as their younger and older teammates, the Red Sox will be unstoppable come October.

Dustin Pedroia Faces Unfair Scrutiny

Earlier last week I wrote that Dustin Pedroia is nothing more than a diva. He talks a big game but doesn’t offer much in terms of leadership. Writers like me took issue with Pedroia for several reasons. The Red Sox are leaderless right now without David Ortiz. Pedroia isn’t the player he was in 2007. The Red Sox may or may not reach the World Series. All these factors led to writers like me to find someone to blame. Since we can only blame John Farrell so much, we started focusing on Pedroia. As Dustin Pedroia faces scrutiny, the media, me included, should take a step back and think more about what his real role is and the positive attributes he brings to the team.

Dustin Pedroia Faces Scrutiny For Drama He Didn’t Start

It’s easy to forget how much pressure Pedroia is under right now. He’s the senior playerDustin Pedroia faces on the team. He plays his heart out. Injuries plague him more often than not. Then there was the petty drama that he didn’t start. Pedroia shook off the idea that Manny Machado deliberately slid into him during an April series in Baltimore. But then both teams decided to escalate the issue by beaning each other’s batters in separate games. Whether Pedroia intended to distance himself from Matt Barnes is unclear, but it certainly wasn’t an issue Pedroia escalated on purpose.

Pedroia Didn’t Ask To Get Caught Up In The Price/Eckersley Drama Either

Details about what happened between David Price and Dennis Eckersley continue to be vague and conflicting. We know Price took issue with Eckersley’s opinions. For a while though it seemed like Pedroia egged Price on as he insulted Eckersley on the team airplane. Given his lack of pursuit of drama, Pedroia unlikely exacerbated the incident. In fact, given his role on the team past and present, I’m more likely to believe the reports that Pedroia intervened in a positive way. Pedroia allegedly tried to mediate a more peaceful approach to resolving the issue. Although reports state that neither party wants to meet anymore, it’s more likely that Pedroia tried to act more like a teammate than an instigator.

With this said, writers like me need to take a step back and think twice about the rumors and out-of-context reports were often hear. Sensationalist headlines are interesting and fun to write about, but they run contradictory to our mission to support the Red Sox. This is especially true when we don’t have all the facts.

Eduardo Nuñez Acclimating to Boston Quickly

Unlike the rival Yankees, the Red Sox did not make a splash on baseball’s trade deadline earlier in the week. Contrary to the opinion of a few, that was a good thing. Instead of a big splash, Dave Dombrowski slowly worked his way into the pool and it has paid instant dividends. With the spark from Rafael Devers and Eduardo Nuñez acclimating so well, the Red Sox may have plugged up their holes.

The weakest part of the Red Sox was clearly third base. Between Pablo Sandoval, Deven Eduardo Nuñez acclimatingMarrero, and Tzu Wei Lin brought a lack of continuity and consistent offensive production. With Xander Bogaerts’ abysmal play the last month added on top, a utility guy was needed. Dombrowski dumped a few C-rate prospects to San Francisco to acquire Eduardo Nuñez. After about a week, this has been an excellent deal.

Nuñez has come across the country, switched leagues, and has absolutely flourished. As of August 3rd, Nuñez is 11 for 22 with four doubles, two homers and nine RBI. On top of that, he has already provided some clutch plays for the Red Sox. He even won the Sox a game on a groundout. As of right now, the man can do no wrong.

Coming in as a .300 hitter before the deal, Nuñez has been having a career year. He’s also a guy who can play third base, second, and shortstop. With Dustin Pedroia now on the DL and the mighty struggles of Bogaerts, his versatility is crucial. Although he came from the Giants, he is not foreign to the American League. In fact, he’s pretty familiar with the AL East. He played his first four seasons from 2010-13 backing up Derek Jeter in New York and before this year he had only played in the AL. A learning curve of switching leagues is overrated but Nuñez has had no such problem.

Nuñez’s Impact Goes Beyond the Field

The impact Nuñez has already made on this team is already major. Even if he hits .200 the rest of the year, he may have already saved their season. He and Devers have already made an impact that transcends the field. They have woke the Red Sox up. This team was in absolute shambles before the deal was done. Since then, the hope is back. In fact, when those guys both have multi-hit games, the Red Sox have been 4-0.

So no, there was no splash made at the trade deadline. They added nice pieces in Nuñez and Addison Reed. Unlike Houston or New York, the Red Sox didn’t need to make this huge deal. They are a team built for the postseason and Nuñez just adds to that depth and can help revive their offense. It’s now up to the Red Sox to keep this going.