Red Sox: Five keys to a successful 2017 MLB postseason

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 30: Koji Uehara
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 30: Koji Uehara /
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BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 09: Chris Sale (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 09: Chris Sale (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

Chris Sale

When Dave Dombrowski went out and acquired LHP Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox last offseason, the goal was to bring in a bonafide ace and annual Cy Young contender to a rotation already flush with talent and create a three-headed monster in Rick Porcello, David Price, and Sale.

While the three-headed monster part of the plan didn’t exactly pan out, Sale has been as good – if not better – than advertised since arriving from Chicago. With just 2-3 starts left in his first full season with the Red Sox, Sale has put together statistics of:

  • 16-7 record
  • 2.86 ERA
  • .964 WHIP
  • 287 Ks in 201.1 IP
  • 2.31 FIP
  • 12.8 K/9
  • 158 ERA+
  • 5.7 bWAR

For the Red Sox to make a deep push in the postseason, Sale needs to remain the dominating force he’s been all season long. While he’s had his hiccups since the beginning of August, Sale is still set to become the first AL pitcher with 300+ Ks since Pedro in 2000 and to finish 1 or 2 in the AL Cy Young award. We should feel more than confident in his chances when facing any opponent this October. He’s been that good.

Drew Pomeranz

While Dave Dombrowski’s vision of a three-headed monster leading the rotation failed to materialize, he still wound up with a two-headed beast with the emergence of Drew Pomeranz atop of the starting staff.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the season for the 2017 Red Sox is how dominant Pomeranz has been behind Sale for this team. When he first arrived from San Diego, many fans were understandably down on Pomeranz for his average performances (4.59 ERA in 13 GS),  injury woes, and the price it took to acquire such an uninspiring piece in the form of then-18-year-old pitcher Anderson Espinoza.

Since the beginning of 2017 though, the entire narrative for Pomeranz has changed. He has become a force in the rotation while routinely tossing 6 innings of 1-2 run ball and giving the Red Sox a chance to win nearly every time he takes the mound.

While he’s no Sale, Kluber, or Verlander in that he’ll l carve up a lineup batters 1-9, Pomeranz lends a more than steady hand at the No. 2 spot in the rotation. On the season he’s posted statistics of:

  • 16-5 record
  • 3.28 ERA in 159.1 IP
  • 138 ERA+
  • 3.82 FIP
  • 3.5 bWAR

With two 16-game winners leading the pack, the Red Sox have reliable options to hand the ball to at the start of any postseason series. If Boston has the opportunity to get the ball to their top starters 4-5 times in a 5 or 7 game series their chances of advancing greatly improve. Sale and Pomeranz have both been phenomenal so far this year and at this point, there’s no reason to doubt them when crunch time comes.