Don’t be surprised if Red Sox seize control of AL East soon
After what was a bumpy road into May, the Red Sox are slowly but surely flipping the switch and looking like the team we saw in 2018. With the Rays and Yankees currently atop the AL East and feeling the heat, don’t be surprised if they crack under the pressure.
Well, he’s not wrong. Since the White House visit last Thursday, the Boston Red Sox have scored 34 runs, and absolutely steamrolled their way past the Seattle Mariners, the same team that put Boston back on their heels to begin the season back in late March.
Yes, this Red Sox team has now flipped the script to become a run-scoring, playmaking, clutch moment, winning ballclub that was once 9 games back in the division. As we sit here on May 14, they currently are three games back of the first place Tampa Bay Rays, and 2.5 GB of their arch-rivals, the New York Yankees. That didn’t take long.
One could just take a look at the standings and say “Well, if the season ended today, the Red Sox would miss the playoffs”. Sure, you could say that, but that would be taking the easy way out of something that there’s no denying.
The Boston Red Sox will likely seize control of the AL East sooner rather than later. With still 121 games to go, there’s more than enough time for someone to choke.
The Rays have been a nice surprise, giving both the favorites Boston and New York some competition, while New York has battled injuries all year thus far, seeing 13 players head to the IL at one point.
I’m not suggesting that Boston will coast to the finish line as they did a season ago, but what I am saying is that it’s only a matter of time before they come up behind Tampa and New York and take control of the division once again.
Let’s put it in perspective for a minute: Rafael Devers, the 22-year old third baseman that’s already been a 2-year pro, is leading the league in batting average at. 336.
Want to crunch some more numbers? Try this on for size: Michael Chavis, a 23-year old rookie who was brought up when Dustin Pedroia and Eduardo Nunez went down, has now cemented himself a spot in a lineup every night by basically emulating Ted Williams. No, seriously. He’s been that good. See for yourself.
Not to mention that Chris Sale is back to form, and that is scary for teams across baseball. He’s lighting up the gun at 95-97 MPH with his fastball and he’s regained control of that backdoor slider that’s just plain nasty and impossible to hit.
Also, just for good measure, Sale has managed to record 10 strikeouts in 3 of his last 4 starts, with three of them coming in one “Immaculate Inning” against the Orioles, just the 95th in MLB history.
The most recent Immaculate inning prior to Sale’s was courtesy of another member of the Red Sox rotation, Rick Porcello, back in August of 2017.
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Meanwhile, as Boston looks to gain some ground on their division foes, they’re set to do battle with the Colorado Rockies and Houston Astros at Fenway Park over the next week before heading out on the road.
New York will be dealing with Baltimore, who surprisingly has been a thorn in the side of the pinstripes, and then Tampa Bay in a duel for first place.
FYI, the Red Sox will be meeting up with the Yankees May 30 – June 2nd. Tampa Bay has been treading water recently, going just 5-5 over their last 10 games.
So to recap, you have a team that’s battling more injuries than they have players, another squad that’s starting to slide downhill, and one team that’s the defending World Series champions that are finally starting to hit it’s stride as we enter the warmer months.
The Red Sox are gaining momentum, and quickly, so expect a shift in the standings on the Green Monster at Fenway sooner rather than later.