The Red Sox are proving everyone wrong in 2021
Going into this season the Red Sox weren’t given a shot by anyone to do much of anything. It’s hard to blame the pundits and oddsmakers as the team severely underwhelmed in 2019 and were an embarrassment in 2020. However, with the re-hiring of Alex Cora and a laser focus on the task at hand, this team is outperforming everyone’s expectations.
I think we can all agree that it’s gotten annoying to hear from opposing fanbases that face the Sox that “It’s only April,” “It’s only May,” and “It’s only June.” Well now it’s July and the Red Sox just beat the life out of the Royals 15-1 and will once again have the best record in the American League. Hell, it’s taken sites like Fangraphs MONTHS to finally realize that Boston was good and the Yankees were bad for them to update their season projections.
After last night’s rain-delayed victory and today’s route, Boston will be on pace to win 100 games this season, and very likely more. Last night they became the first team in the AL to hit the 50 win mark and today would make them the first team in all of Major League Baseball to clip 51 dubs. It’s felt like ever since that opening series sweep at the hands of the Orioles this squad has been pissed off and on a warpath.
The second phase of the All-Star voting ended this afternoon with Boston having four finalists in J.D. Martinez, Alex Verdugo, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers, with the latter two being heavy favorites to start. Speaking of Devers, he came into today’s lunchtime clash with the Royals in second place for RBI’s in the entire MLB with 64, just behind Vlad Guerrero Jr.’s 66. Well, Big Scoops went out and picked up five more thanks to a two-run single and 3-run homer, and now leads the Majors in runs batted in.
That’s just how this team operates, if one guy is having an off night then someone else will pick up the slack. If the pitching is suffering the offense will carry the weight and vice versa. The thing is, very rarely have either side of the game totally crapped the bed. This Red Sox team has been firing on all cylinders for damn near the entire season and it shows in the box score every night.
Nathan Eovaldi, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Nick Pivetta have all been absolutely lights-out in their most recent starts, giving Boston a great foundation to work from. Then when the ball gets turned over to the bullpen things don’t get easier as Adam Ottavino, Hirokazu Sawamura, Garrett Whitlock, Josh Taylor, and Matt Barnes are absolute stoppers.
Chaim Bloom didn’t make any big splashes in free agency or bring in superstar talents, he built this team to work as a cohesive unit, and he looks like a damn genius right now. Bloom’s best signing from free agency has been Hunter Renfroe and the veteran outfielder has made good on Chaim’s faith. Once again, that’s what this team has all been about. No superstars, no egos, no issues. From Opening Day through this afternoon they’ve been about the name on the front of the jersey and not the one on the back.
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With half a season still on the schedule, we all know there’s too much time left to start celebrating. Everyone remembers the great collapse of 2011 where they went into the final month of the season with a nine-game lead to go 7-20 and miss the postseason. That was an incredibly unlikeable team, to be honest, and they didn’t have the spark of the squad we would see just two seasons later.
This current Red Sox club feels a lot like 2013 where they never feel like they’re out of anything. And they may not be as dominant as they were in 2018, but they sure do feel like they should be one of the favorites now. Obviously, there are still some serious heavy hitters in the American League but Boston has gone from an afterthought to a force to be reckoned with.
A lot can be attributed to the energy Cora brings, and the specific players Chaim brought in, but at the end of the day it’s all about what happens on the field, and this team is pretty damn good. This group of players gels like we haven’t seen in years. They’re always smiling, laughing, and enjoying playing the game together, which has been another secret ingredient to 2021’s success.
Nobody thought the Red Sox would be a threat in the AL East, and many believed they wouldn’t even be in the Wild Card conversation. Well, now it’s July and people need to stop making excuses and moving the goalposts. After sweeping the Yankees and Royals in the past week, it’s their division to lose. If the pitching can stay close to what it has been and if the offense keeps pounding the opposition, this team is going to be marching to October baseball in dominant fashion.