Red Sox sweeping Pirates without multiple key players could signal 2024 turnaround

Boston Red Sox v Pittsburgh Pirates
Boston Red Sox v Pittsburgh Pirates / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

Even without Rafael Devers, Tyler O'Neill or Triston Casas in the lineup, the Boston Red Sox mustered a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

A few Red Sox stepped up and made some important contributions in Pittsburgh. Wilyer Abreu's name sticks out above the rest.

The outfielder has been on a tear since the Red Sox's series against the Guardians at Fenway Park. Abreu managed two stunning catches in right field -- one robbed a homer early in the series and the other saving a few runs to send the Sox to extra innings on April 17.

Abreu's plate presence didn't balance out his defensive efforts until recently. The lefty is on a 10-game on-base streak going back to Boston's April 11 game against the Orioles. He posted two three-hit outings against the Pirates and mashed his first home run of the season on April 19.

Wilyer Abreu, Rob Refsnyder among best Red Sox performers from series sweep of Pirates

Ceddanne Rafaela also hit his first long ball of the season on the same night. His home run put an exclamation point on a four-homer night for the Sox, one of which was hit by Casas.

The other homer was driven by Rob Refsnyder, who also made his mark on the Sox quickly after his return from a pinky toe fracture that kept him sidelined as far back as spring training. The outfielder went 4-for-12 at the plate in Pittsburgh, and three of those hits were doubles.

Masataka Yoshida made a bit more noise at the plate against the Pirates. The designated hitter posted a three-hit night and his second homer of the year on April 20.

Many of the Red Sox who struggled offensively at the beginning of the campaign are waking up at the plate in the absence of Boston's usual sluggers. The lineup still did quite a bit of striking out against Pirates pitching, but there was a clear uptick in run support at PNC Park.

Boston's offense from the Pittsburgh road trip is a far cry from the batting order which posted 26 strikeouts in Devers' two missed games in Seattle. O'Neill is scheduled to return to the lineup on April 23 and Devers may join him, so if the Red Sox can maintain their offensive production from Pittsburgh with them in the lineup, they may get revenge on Cleveland in their upcoming series.

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