Now this is the offense we expected to see this season. The Boston Red Sox have been a massive disappointment, but lately there have been signs of improvement.
The Red Sox offense is on a blistering pace this month with a league leading 141 runs in August so far. While that may be heavily influenced by a few blowouts in a small sample size, Boston’s offensive binge has lifted the team to third in the league in runs scored for the season. If the Red Sox had any hope of contending this season it would be on the strength of their bats. While this offense toiled away in mediocrity for most of the season, they are coming on strong in the second half.
As recently as a month ago there were still questions about whether Jackie Bradley and Rusney Castillo would warrant a spot on this roster beyond this season, but both have answered the challenge to put those concerns to rest. Bradley is hitting .311/.395/.649 since the break, while an astounding 14 of his 23 hits have gone for extra-bases. Castillo’s slash line of .375/.412/.613 has made him arguably the team’s best hitter over that same span.
With Hanley Ramirez beginning the early stages of his transition to first base, the Red Sox will have room for both Bradley and Castillo in their outfield next year. Not only have they earned it with their production at the plate, but the defensive upgrade will be a tremendous boost for the pitching staff.
Speaking of the pitching staff, are we seeing a glimmer of hope from one of the rotation’s lost causes? Joe Kelly has now won five straight games and owns a 3.03 ERA during that stretch. He looks like a completely different pitcher compared to the one that was routinely lit up in the first half of the season. Kelly has often relied too heavily on his blazing fastball, but now that he’s mixing up his pitches by incorporating more changeups and breaking balls, it’s helped him keep opposing hitters off balance.
The Red Sox clearly have some work to do to reshape this roster this winter, but a strong finish to the season from these players that most of us were ready to give up on could keep them in the mix for key roles in 2016.