The Boston Red Sox are finally getting healthier after various injuries to both the rotation and lineup. Trevor Story missed the entire season up until the second game against the Royals. Story's return meant that someone would have to be moved to make room on the roster. Pablo Reyes has been a valuable player for the Red Sox all year and proved that once again in game one versus Kansas City. Everything hung in the balance going into the series against the Royals as it would either be Reyes or Yu Chang, who the Red Sox moved on from to make room for Story.
Reyes got the chance to start at shortstop and played one of the best games of the season. At the plate, Reyes went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth. While his play in that singular game may not have determined who Boston kept, it definitely weighed on the minds of the front office. Reyes did not shy away from the moment and delivered on the biggest stage. In the context of the season, a single win against the Kansas City Royals may not look impactful. However, where the Red Sox were both mentally and performance wise, they needed something like a Reyes grand slam to spark some hope and desire into the clubhouse.
After a three-hit night, Reyes's season batting average improved to .312 with a 107 OPS+. Comparatively, Chang sat at a .162 batting average with 44 OPS+ on the season. Chang was a solid defender, but overall the production from Reyes outweighed what Chang brought to the table. The recent DFA of Christian Arroyo leaves room for time at both shortstop and second base when either Urías or Story needs rest.
The Red Sox are only getting healthier
Versatility is one of the things that stands out about Reyes. During his time in the minors, Reyes worked on playing in the outfield, which added another way to get him into the big league lineup. Reyes gave the Red Sox a boost this season when they were struggling to find people for the middle infield and keep the team afloat. The season now rests on how the Red Sox can perform down the stretch of the season. Chris Sale is on his way back, and so are Garrett Whitlock and Tanner Houck. The starting rotation is only improving, which signals that the team will improve.
The thing to wait for now is a response from the team to the momentum injected through Reyes's grand slam and the addition of Trevor Story. Looking ahead, the schedule lightens up before two important series against the Yankees and Astros. Those two series could very well determine if the Red Sox have any chance of making the postseason. The Astros currently hold a wild card spot, and the Yankees are another team on the outside in search of a wild card spot.