I’m not even sure if it’s possible for a team to be as hot as this one. Since Hanley’s walk-off home run last week, the Red Sox have not lost a single game. All season, fans everywhere have been frustrated by this team because we knew that they had the offense and the pitching to do this, but they just couldn't put it together. It turns out that they’ve saved their best for last. In the month of September, the Red Sox are 15-5 and now hold a 5.5 game lead in the AL East. The Red Sox success this month can be attributed to 3 main pieces that have all come together. The starting pitchers, the bullpen, and Hanley Ramirez.
The Red Sox bullpen has gone from being the team’s biggest weakness to becoming its biggest strength. In the month of September, the Red Sox high leverage relievers have been on fire. Nobody has been able to touch Craig Kimbrel, Koji has looked more like a 2014 version of Koji, and all of the little guys have done their jobs. Occasionally, one of the starters (most likely Drew Pomeranz) is going to have an early exit. It is important that the Red Sox use the deep bullpen that they’ve been provided following September call ups to their advantage when these situations arise. Even Junichi Tazawa is beginning to come around, not allowing a run in 6 appearances dating back to August 28th. A bullpen is only as good as their weakest pitcher. And when your weakest pitcher is running out there and giving you scoreless outings, then you must be doing pretty well.
So, how about our left fielder? I mean DH. I mean first baseman. Whatever you want to call him, Hanley Ramirez has exceeded any kind of expectations that were set for him prior to this season. In addition, saying Hanley has been superhuman this month would be an understatement. Hanley has hit 10 home runs and racked up 25 RBI’s this month and it’s only the 23rd. Coming into Thursday’s game, Hanley had a .979 OPS since the All-Star break and it seems as though this is going to continue to climb if he can continue to hit home runs in nearly every game he plays. The fact that so many of these dingers have been in clutch situations is just icing on the cake.
The magic number for the Red Sox is now just 5. The Red Sox will continue their final regular season stretch with 3 games in Tampa Bay over the weekend. The regular season is dwindling down and the Red Sox find themselves comfortably in the division lead. After back to back last place finishes, I’m ready to go through the emotional rollercoaster that is October Baseball.