By: Dylan Porcaro
Since acquiring Eduardo Nunez and calling up Rafael Devers, the Red Sox have been on a great run. They just swept the White Sox, they’ve won 6 straight, including a few exciting walk off wins. All of that is nice, but let’s make sure we understand the fact that the White Sox are playing with a minor league roster. With that said, in about a week I have a feeling that we will have a good idea of what this team is really made of.
I’ll be the first to admit that this past week has made me change my mind to an extent about this team. When Dan Shaugnessy’s article on Price and Eck broke and the Red Sox strung together some losses, I began to think this year had 2011 written all over it. When David Price went on the DL the day of his scheduled Fenway start, I was truly disgusted with the team. I also must add that I wasn’t a fan of Dustin Pedroia’s comments on the situation, especially when there’s rumors about him being one of the teammates that applauded Price’s bullying of Dennis Eckersley. Pedroia stated that he’s the leader of the club, but the last time I checked, good leaders don’t have to let us all know that they are a leader. Regardless, I was expecting a giant downfall and instead we got the exact opposite.
Many have asked the question, “have the Sox turned the corner?”, based off of this winning streak. My response to that question would be to ask me in exactly one week and I will be able to give you a good answer. Boston is going on the road to take on Tampa Bay followed by the Yankees. Two division foes who are behind the Red Sox in the AL East, but not by much. This season the Red Sox are 21-22 in the division, which is without a doubt subpar. They are 5-7 against the Rays, and an even worse 3-6 against the Yanks. The Yankees have been struggling as of late, so it is key for the Sox to take advantage of them.
Dustin Pedroia should be returning to the lineup to start this two game series with the Rays, it will be interesting to see where he fits in with the hot bats of Devers and Nunez. My best guess is that they put him at the DH spot to give him a little more time to fully recover, while also buying time to figure out what to do with Nunez and Devers. I guess it’s not a bad time for Hanley to be complaining about oblique soreness, but they are definitely going to need him down the stretch going forward.
As much as I love Eduardo Nunez and give him credit for coming in and changing the feeling around this team, he’s going to come back to Earth at some point. Sure, he could remain at an All-Star level, but he can’t remain at this pace. The same goes for Devers, who I think might even suffer from a greater drop off like most rookies do. However, when those guys stop raking, the Red Sox still should have enough on offense to continue producing runs. Mookie Betts is not playing anywhere near close to an MVP candidate like he was last year, and Andrew Benintendi has been inconsistent throughout the year. Although I have been disappointed in Dustin Pedroia for both his most recent comments and his betrayal of the team during the Orioles/Machado incident, he’s been arguably the team’s best player at the plate. Betts and Benintendi both should be better, and Pedroia will hopefully pick back up where he left off.
The Sox have a chance to really distance themselves from New York and Tampa Bay this week, and I think the outcome will say a lot about them as a team. We will see if some momentum from last week can carry over and help them out. A .500 week wouldn’t be the worst thing, but I think the jury would still be out as far as where they are as a team. The Dodgers are on a historic run and the Astros aren’t far behind. The schedule is going to start getting more competitive and the games will be more meaningful, so I’m eager to see if the Red Sox can actually turn the corner.