MLB Standings Watch: Reasons to keep watching Red Sox
Aug 30, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (25) hits an RBI ground rule double in the seventh inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
We have known for a while now that this season is going nowhere for the Boston Red Sox. As the calendar flips to the final full month of the season the team sits 8.5 games back of a playoff spot and hopelessly out of contention. While we may not be left with the excitement of the postseason chase, there are still plenty of reasons to continue watching the Red Sox in September.
Many fans tuned out on this season a while ago due to the team’s struggles, but those that did have been missing out lately. Why should you keep watching the Red Sox the rest of this season?
Those that stopped paying attention still believe Jackie Bradley can’t hit. It wasn’t long ago that people questioned if he would ever produce enough at the plate to warrant putting him in the lineup, but he proved doubters wrong by hitting .354 in August. He has a hit in 6 of his last 7 at-bats, with 4 of those hits going for doubles. Bradley’s .938 OPS isn’t just the best on the team, it’s the 7th best in the league among hitters with at least 100 at-bats this season. So yeah… the kid can hit.
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Xander Bogaerts is looking to become the first Red Sox hitter to win a batting title since Bill Mueller in 2003. Ok, so nobody is realistically going to catch Miguel Cabrera, who has a commanding lead with a .359 average and is in his own stratosphere with four batting titles in the last five years. Then again, Cabrera is nearly 100 plate appearances shy of ensuring he will even qualify. He’s been banged up this season and the Tigers are out out of contention. It’s possible Cabrera gets shut down early and falls short of the necessary plate appearances to to eligible for the award. Meanwhile, Bogaerts is 5th in the race with a .316 average and within striking distance of second place Michael Brantley (.323).
The dreadful Rick Porcello extension may still be salvageable. Fine, so he probably won’t live up to his price tag, but he also may not be a total bust. Everyone was ready to give up on him after his first 20 dreadful starts in a Red Sox uniform, but he’s been a different pitcher since his return from the disabled list. He has given up only 1 earned run in his last 15 innings with 18 strikeouts and only 1 walk. He’s pounding the strike zone and the movement on his sinker is back. Over the final month of the season we may finally get to see the version of Porcello the Red Sox thought they were trading for.
David Ortiz is chasing history. Big Papi is only 5 homers shy of joining the exclusive 500 Home Run club. He has hit at least 5 home runs in the month of September in 10 of his last 12 seasons in Boston. He needs one more home run and 20 more RBI’s for his 9th career 30 HR, 100 RBI season. Ortiz’s quest to cement his legacy as one of the game’s all-time greatest sluggers should be enough reason in itself to keep watching this team.
It’s been a disappointing season for the Red Sox, who dug their own grave early with sub-par performances. However, this team is still loaded with exciting young talent that has been a joy to watch blossom. The offense is finally hitting at the level we expected from them, with the third most runs scored in the league and a lineup boasting 6 players that have appeared in at least 20 games since the break that are hitting over .300 in the season’s second half.
We won’t get to watch the Red Sox in the playoffs this year, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have reasons to keep watching them now.