The Red Sox are finally starting to heat up as a team and have started to show their true identity
Frustration would sum up the Red Sox season going into the 2nd half of the season. After finishing up on a hot streak, the team then won the first game after the All Star Break before posting a 4 – 12 record during their next 16 contests. Since then, the Sox have completely turned it around. They’ve won five straight and have won seven of their last nine games. After losing the AL East top spot, they’ve regained it by three games.
This game was capped off by two home runs of the two run variety. Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr. both hit their shots to propel the Red Sox to a 4 – 1 victory over the south siders of Chicago. After a wild month of June for both Benintendi and Bradley Jr., July brought the cold weather as neither one could really get it going. Each hit only two homers in July. They have hit half as many during just the first week in August.
The Sox need to get this kind of production from the entire team and not simply continue to rely on just two or three people to get things done. What’s the biggest change? It would be impossible to give credit to just one aspect of the team. Simply put, the team is doing well for multiple reasons. The bats are starting to come alive and the starters are pitching deeper into games.
Doug Fister almost pitched a complete game during his last start where he also picked up his first win. Eduardo Nunez joining Boston has almost made people forget about Dave Dombrowski trading away Travis Shaw for a damaged Tyler Thornburg. Everything that could go right for the team has as of late and it’s gone well with several leaders out of commission. The David Price saga has died down as well which has only brightened the teams spirits going into each game.
It doesn’t hurt that the Yankees who went on a shopping spree have forgotten how to play the game aside from perhaps luck helping them to victory as of late. The Yankees had arguably the best hitter in baseball during the first half which has not brought the same fortune so far during the second half. What needs to change? The Yankees need to turn it around or they will fall farther away from 1st place.
Fister brought his ERA down from 6.04 to 5.18 after going almost eight full innings in his last start against the Indians. His only blip was a two run homer. Nunez has been an absolute machine since joining the squad in Beantown. Nunez had a slash line of .308/4/31/18 in 76 games in San Francisco. So far in Boston he’s crushed a .469/3/11/3 line in just seven games. Mitch Moreland is starting to find his old groove again.
Not too sure he liked someone else taking his doubles title away, Mitchy-Two-Bags wants it back by the looks of his most recent games. After hitting just four RBI’s in July with no home runs, Moreland has two home runs and five runs knocked in four games. Oh ya, lest we forget, his two doubles in July have already been doubled in his four games with four so far in four games. A double a game is two-bag status right there.
Rookie Rafael Devers who originally was only looking like he was going to spend a short time in Boston has solidified himself a spot in the line up on a daily basis. Dubbed “Baby Face” by his teammates, Devers has wreaked havoc on his opponents. His third home run looked like it was going to be a fly out to left field but the ball never stopped carrying and eventually went for a home run. Here’s the video of his 3rd homer.
The Red Sox don’t look like they’re slowing down any time soon especially if they can keep this pace up. What will really be important is when players return from injury that they don’t disrupt the current identity of the squad. It only takes one player to ruin the momentum. This team knows how special they are and if they keep going in this direction, the playoffs will look more and more like a realistic possibility.
The Sox have gone 6 – 2 during their home stand and will close out the final game against the White Sox with Fister on the mound.
Photo Credit – Barry Chin – Globe Staff