Who Will Be The Red Sox All-Stars This Year?

The 2018 All-Star game is still over a month and a half away but speculation about who the Red Sox All-Stars will be is already heating up. Let’s take a look at a few likely candidates for the Red Sox 2018 All-Star team.

2x Red Sox All-Star Mookie Betts

It’s a safe bet that Mookie Betts will make the 2018 All-Star team. He’s hitting .359 with ared sox all league-leading 52 runs as well as 17 home runs. Betts is also in the running for the American League MVP (if he can stay healthy). As someone who sportswriters compare to Mike Trout, Betts will not only make the All-Star team, but he’ll become a Red Sox legend in years to come.

1x Red Sox All-Star J.D. Martinez

Anyone who says Martinez won’t make the All-Star team doesn’t know baseball. He’s leading the league in home runs (20) and RBIs (52) and has a .317 batting average as of June 6th. A modern-day Johnny Mize, Martinez knows how to hit the long ball, and he’s already fitting in better in Boston than Hanley Ramirez or Pablo Sandoval ever did.

Andrew Benintendi

If Aaron Judge hadn’t made his debut last year Andrew Benintendi would have been the American League Rookie of the Year. He hit 20 home runs last year and already has 10 this year as of June 6th. He’s a fan favorite in Boston and it’ll be a surprise to Red Sox Nation.

6x All-Star Chris Sale

While some are concerned about Chris Sale’s performance so far this season, he still has 110 strikeouts for the season. Many are speculating that Alex Cora is pacing Sale this season, hence why we’re not seeing him repeat last year’s numbers. Regardless, he’s an All-Star.

Red Sox All-Star Honorable Mentions

The Red Sox are such a good team this year, which makes it hard to pick more than just a few. But some honorable mentions that are worthy of an All-Star team include Xander Bogaerts, Craig Kimbrel, Mitch Moreland, and Rick Porcello. Bogaerts is hitting below .300 but he’s still a solid hitter. Kimbrel is always good for a save. Mitch Moreland would surely make the All-Star team if he got more playing time. With Hanley Ramirez gone that might happen. Rick Porcello’s performance is reflecting his 2016 numbers. Regardless, the Red Sox seem to finally be playing with the determination and energy we saw back in 2013. That’s the year they won the World Series.

Are Red Sox Regretting Losing Ramirez?

The decision to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment brought on the skeptics. The argument widely made was by getting rid of Hanley, the Red Sox would save money this year and next, but lose a veteran power presence in the middle of the lineup. Manager Alex Cora discussed the option with David Dombrowski and in order to make room for second baseman Dustin Pedroia, Hanley was ultimately DFA’d. That financial decision may hurt the Sox as they head towards the summer and beyond.

During Cora’s playing days, he was widely known as a great “clubhouse guy” who is willingRamirez to play anywhere that benefits the team. He was a super utility guy, much like Brock Holt. It seems Cora has maintained that same mindset of clubhouse friendly but versatile type players even as a skipper. By letting Ramirez go, it meant versatile guys like Blake Swihart, Eduardo Nunez, and Holt types would get more playing time. That may be great in theory, but now Pedroia, who was the reason for the Hanley roster move, is back on the D.L., Mookie remains sidelined and guys like Sam Travis are playing left field.

In the final game against the Detroit Tigers this week, Cora changed up his lineup. He had Swihart start at catcher, Nunez at second, Vasquez at DH, Travis starting in left field and J.D. Martinez playing the intricate Fenway Park right field. I can’t help but think Hanley could have helped the Red Sox in some sort of way in that game. A game that ended in a loss.

Red Sox May Regret Losing the Depth That Ramirez Created

Depth is huge right now in the game of baseball. Now with starters going less and less deep into games, routinely seen exiting after five or six innings, depth is all more important. Relievers now come in that specialize in getting certain types of hitters out. By having more utility guys on the bench, rather than in the starting nine, managers can counter that specialized approach. Losing Hanley hinders that depth.

With Hanley gone, Moreland, who historically is great as a pinch hitter, is now starting at first every day. Swihart becomes much more needed as a backup outfield plan. Players such as Holt and Nunez have to start more due to other player’s injuries. Playing time is always a preference, but that isn’t normally these players niche. Sometimes those type of players gain value on the bench. Value they gain with the ability to be played in different defensive and offensive situations.

World Champion Houston Astros, exemplified this approach last season with utility depth like Marwin Gonzalez seen playing any position, any game. Charlie Morton also provided depth. He became the new wave “utility-type” bullpen arm if the starter struggles, much like Cleveland Indians Andrew Miller.

It will be interesting to see how this progresses. Maybe I am overthinking it now, but you can’t help but think Ramirez will be missed at some point.

 

Carson Smith is Likely Done for the Year

As many of you may recall, Carson Smith was shut down in mid-May after injuring his throwing shoulder. On May 14, Smith surrendered a run to the Oakland Athletics in the eighth inning, putting the A’s up for good, 6-5. As he returned to the dugout, Smith threw his glove in the dugout out of frustration. Boston’s promising reliever hasn’t seen the field since.

Carson Smith’s fit of rage not only left his glove on the dugout floor but the rest of his Carson Smithseason in jeopardy. Until this week, there had not been any medical decision as doctors did not want to rush to any conclusions. Now, about a month after the temper tantrum, the severity of the injury has become clear. On Wednesday, Smith underwent shoulder surgery which likely spells the end of his 2018 season.

The late-inning relief pitcher spent the majority of the previous two seasons recovering from Tommy-John surgery. To begin the 2018 campaign, Smith emerged as a solid option out of a Red Sox bullpen which has had its fair share of struggles this year. But now, the 28-year-old will have yet another season cut staggeringly short because of injury.

Carson Smith Continues to Frustrate

His tenure in Boston has been a frustrating one. The Red Sox acquired Carson Smith from the Seattle Mariners in 2015, trading southpaw Wade Miley and a prospect for Smith and starting pitcher Roenis Elias. He joined the Red Sox after dominating in his first full season, posting a 2.31 ERA and 92 strikeouts out of the Mariners’ bullpen. Smith began his tenure as a promising 26-year-old that would not hit the free-agent market until 2021. To say it has not gone as planned would be an understatement. Through his first three seasons with the Red Sox, Smith has appeared in a mere 29 contests. In those 29 games, he’s pitched in under 25 innings and just underwent his second season-ending surgery in three years.

After a shaky start to the year, the Red Sox’s corps of relievers actually has improved of late. Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes have established themselves as trustworthy late-inning arms to precede the ever-consistent Craig Kimbrel. While the struggles have subsided, Carson Smith’s inability to control his temper has put another significant blemish on his Red Sox tenure and provided yet another test for Boston’s bullpen.

Red Sox Failed To Give Pitchers Run Support

The Boston Red Sox failed to give its pitchers the run support they needed in their series against the Chicago White Sox. Chris Sale absolutely dominated the White Sox Friday night by striking out ten but got the 1-0 loss. The Red Sox won the second series game on Saturday. The third game though ended in a 5-2 loss with Rick Porcello taking the loss. The box score clearly shows that it wasn’t the pitchers’ fault. If anything, it’s clear they didn’t the run support they needed. You know how many runs the Red Sox scored in the entire series? Four. The starting lineup for the Red Sox failed to give their pitchers the support they needed.

Chris Sale dominated Friday night. He took a shutout into the seventh inningred sox fail before giving up a run. He struck out ten for a season total of 120. It should have been an easy win for him. Unfortunately, ESPN is projecting him to go 12-10 this season. That’s not because he’s struggling on the mound. It’s because he’s only gotten four runs in support in his last three starts. Those last three starts were all losses too.

Rick Porcello Is Dominating Again, But He Needs Run Support Too

Rick Porcello is pitching like he did back in 2016 when he won the Cy Young Award. ESPN is projecting that he’ll win twenty games again this season. Unfortunately, the Red Sox’s hitters are playing like they did in 2016 when they’d leave a number of runners on base at the end of each inning.

The Red Sox can’t afford to sacrifice run at this point in the season. The New York Yankees are right at the Red Sox’s heels and they’ll run away with first place if Sale and Porcello don’t get the run support they need. While David Price is projected to go 17-10 this season, there’s no reason why the Red Sox’s number one and two starters should have double-digit losses.

Red Sox Set To Take On First Place Mariners

The Seattle Mariners haven’t been in first place since August of 2003. That was over fifteen years ago. I was a junior in college at the time. America had just invaded Iraq a few months earlier. Pluto was still a planet. The Red Sox hadn’t won a World Series in 85 years. That’s a long time. With the Red Sox set to take on the Mariners starting on Thursday, June 14th, baseball fans will have a chance to see how the two first place teams will fare against each other. Like the Houston Astros before them, the Mariners, who have never been in a World Series before, have a real shot at winning the Fall Classic this year. That would mean defeating the Red Sox in the playoffs though. While October is months away, fans will get a glimpse of what that showdown could look like when the Red Sox travel to Seattle for the four-game series.

The Red Sox went 3-3 in six games against the Mariners last year. Rickred sox set Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez lost two of those games. But Porcello had his worst season of his career last year, and Rodriguez didn’t do much better. Both pitchers are dominating this season though. Porcello is pitching like his 2016 Cy Young Award year, and Rodrugiez is 8-1, leading the league with a .889 winning percentage. With that said, there’s a good chance the Red Sox could sweep the Mariners. While that’s not the most solid logic, it’s easy to argue that the Mariners will have a hard time against the Red Sox pitching rotation.

Red Sox Set To Show Which AL Division is Stronger

The Red Sox are currently in second place in the AL East, but are one game ahead of the New York Yankees, which is sort of confusing. The Yankees have a better winning percentage, but the Red Sox have more wins, so technically the Yankees are behind. Regardless of the standings, it’s a tangle that the Red Sox would like to free themselves from.

The Red Sox will play the Mariners seven out of their next ten games between June 14th and June 24th. If the Red Sox can take at least four of those seven games from the Mariners then they’ll stand a good chance of getting ahead of the Yankees. While the Mariners will play the Red Sox in seven of the next ten games, those three games they won’t face against the Red Sox will be against the Yankees. So between now and June 24th baseball fans could very well see a clear frontrunner emerge in the American League.

Mookie Betts is back in the lineup. The Red Sox have a dominant pitching staff. With that said, it’s very possible that the Red Sox will advance past both the Yankees and Mariners. If not though, well, there’s still the rest of the season!

This article was written a few hours before the first game in the series between Seattle and Boston on Thursday, June 14th. 

Red Sox Can’t Afford to Lose Mookie Betts

The Boston Red Sox felt Mookie Betts’ absence while he was on the disabled list. While the Red Sox were 9-5 while Mookie Betts was out, the Red Sox fell behind in the standings. The Red Sox could have one at least three of those five losses if Mookie had been healthy. Then the Red Sox dropped two out of three to the White Sox last weekend. If there’s one thing for sure it’s that the Red Sox can’t afford to lose Mookie Betts again this season.

There’s not many players like Mookie Betts in the majors. Players like Betts, along withlose rookie Mike Trout, and Bryce Harper, are superstars above your common all-stars today. They’re for-sure Hall of Famers as long as they continue to play the way they do. But history is full of players whose careers were cut short by injuries. As a result, they didn’t make it to the Hall of Fame. Don Mattingly is one example. He was a six-time All-Star, eight-time Gold Glove Winner, and the 1985 American League MVP. But injuries he sustained towards the end of his career cut his chances for induction short. Both Mattingly and Betts are already legendary in their respective communities. But the difference between the both will be whether Betts can stay healthy for years to come.

To Lose Mookie Betts Would Mean Losing Out on a World Series Championship

According to ESPN, Betts is projected to hit a career high 41 home runs and hit .354 for the season. There’s not too many Red Sox legends who’ve accumulated those numbers in their careers. Carl Yastrzemski, David Ortiz, and Ted Williams had better numbers. Each of those three players led the Red Sox to the World Series. Ortiz achieved three championships for Boston during his tenure. Betts will be no different. But he’s got to stay healthy if he’s going to take Boston to the World Series.