The Boston Red Sox just keep winning. In their last game against the Tampa Bay Rays, The Red Sox showed that they will not be stopped. My favorite part of the 2017 Boston Red Sox was the fact that they would never give up. Last season the Red Sox had many come from behind wins, and dominated in extra-innings. The went 15-3 in extras last year, and are already 2-0 this season. That stat does not include yesterday’s game, where the Sox found themselves down 7-2 in the bottom of the 8th. They would then rattle off six runs in an epic two-out rally that included three doubles. Kimbrel came into the 9th, and that’s the game. That brings us to the present, where the Boston Red Sox sit at 8-1 which is the best start in franchise history and the best record in baseball. Here is what I believe we have learned so far.
David Price is BACK: That’s right, David Price is here! Price went through some Wade Boggs level criticism, meaning he was hated on for performing well. Price had some minor controversies in what was a mentally taxing season for him. Alex Cora has stepped into the Red Sox head coaching position and has seem to instill a much more positive attitude in the club house. Price came into the season saying he is here to stay and wants to win, and has since come into games and dominated. He took the ball game two and twirled seven scoreless innings to capture the Sox first win a day after a Joe Kelly/Carson Smith explosion I’ll get to later. 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 Runs, 0 BB, 5 Ks was enough to get the 1-0 victory. Okay good start, can he follow it up on Opening Day at Fenway Park? Yes. Stop me if you have heard this before, seven scoreless innings to put the Sox in a position to win the game. 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 Runs, 3 BB, 5 Ks. Price has been absolutely DOMINANT in his first two starts and given a lot of fans hope this season. Two aces are better than one, and the Sox have two aces early on. We are huge David Price guys at WTF Sports Nation, there is nobody I’d rather see dominate this season.
Hanley Ramirez Risers: Hanley has been an enigma as a member of the Red Sox. He has gotten hot and looked like his former batting title winning self, and hit under .250 twice in three seasons. Hanley has come up clutch in the past, with walk-offs like on Opening Day at Fenway and has come through in the postseason hitting .423 with the Sox in two Divisional Series. While having success at points, he has something to prove this season since averaging .261 BA with 24 bombs and 75 RBIs a year in his first three seasons in Boston. The Sox expect Hanley to hit for a better average as well as approach 30 homers a season. Hanley has come out of the gate hitting .324 with one moonshot, 8 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. He will not hit .324 all season I’m not saying that. What he has shown is that he still has some wheels and the ability to put together a solid run in 2018. A healthy, clutch Ramirez would have a major effect on this Red Sox team.
Xander Bogaerts Risers: Bogaerts suffered a left ankle injury sliding into the dugout last game to save a ball from going out of play. According to Evan Drellich of NBCS Boston (CSN if your normal) Bogaerts will undergo treatment today to determine if he needs to go on the Disabled List. He supposedly had trouble walking yesterday but could avoid a DL trip if treatment/exams go well. Prior to the injury Bogey was RAKING early. In nine games Xander hit .368 with 2 nukes, 9 RBIs, and a league leading SEVEN doubles. He has the same amount of doubles as strikeouts, that is insane even considering how early it is in the season. Carrabis started throwing around the nickname Double Bogey which I will be using all season. He has finally recovered from the wrist injury he battled for half a season in 2017 and could have a huge impact this season if he can recover from the left ankle injury.
*Update: Bogaerts has been placed on the 10 Day Disabled List after an X-Ray and MRI revealed a small crack in the talus bone of his left ankle. He is expected to miss 10-14 days and will be replaced by our Taiwanese Babe Ruth… Tzu-Wei Lin.
Joe Kelly sucks I mean Fallers: The hero of the Tampa Rays on Opening Day in Tropicana Field was not Denard Span it was Joey “No Control” Kelly. Kelly took a four run lead into the eighth and threw it in the trash. Must have been a pretty big trash can because if it wasn’t he would have missed high and then in the dirt on his next attempt. Kelly left that game with an 108.00 ERA. It’s okay though because when Kimbrel was unavailable Kelly came into that game, almost blew another one but didn’t, giving him his first save of his career and dropping his ERA all the way down to 27.00. He has since pitched in one more outing dropping his ERA to an impressive 10.80 ERA with 3 Hits and 4 Walks in 3.1 IP. He has proven that he is not ready for a set-up role and has the flattest 101 MPH fastball on the planet. His ERA has dropped by almost 100 points in about a week so maybe he should be on the rising stock list? I’m not sure. Now as much as I just insulted Kelly for ruining the Red Sox perfect season, I am not going to overreact to Kelly’s first outing. He has the ability to be great at times and really only had one awful game and another shaky one. He is the scariest pitcher to watch on the roster but can go on long runs where you start to believe in him. This is a make or break year for Joe Kelly in my eyes.
Carson Smith Fallers: Smith was expected to be the Sox set-up man going into the season. He came into Opening Day at Tropicana Field with the responsibility of cleaning up Joe Kelly’s mess (not easy) and just flat out blew it. He was literally given a blown save and a loss to go along with a clean 27.00 ERA. Not a great start for a man who will be judged by the Boston Media. He came in and immediately gave up two-earned runs via two hits and a walk. He looked sharp in his next two outings that combined for 1 IP. Then on Opening Day a Fenway Park he gave up a two run homerun to make the game 2-0 Rays in the 8th. The Sox would come back to win 3-2 in the 12th which saved him from being attacked by the public eye. Smith has a 9.82 ERA in five outings and needs to step up soon before the media gets the fans to start rooting against him. I strongly believe he will have a great season as an 8th inning guy but he’s been disappointing thus far. His biggest attribute is that he is not very homerun friendly unlike Addison Reed a year ago. He has allowed 3 homers in 91.1 IP during his career.
Jackie Bradley Jr. Fallers: This third spot was a tough race between Bradley, Benintendi, and J.D. Martinez. I chose Bradley for a few reasons. First, he has a lot to prove, more than Martinez or Benny. JBJ’s stay on the Sox may depend on his next few months, and he has not come out hot. People are turning on Bradley because people are sick of him looking concussed at the plate. I chose not to roast Benny because his numbers are misleading and I expect a quick turnaround from the sophomore slugger. Benintendi is hitting an abysmal .161, but has a .350 OBP. As long as he is getting on base I am not as worried. He has 8 strikeouts, one more than Bogey. He is putting the ball in play majority of the time, they just aren’t falling. He is putting together good at-bats and has drove in two base runners along with a steal. Martinez is hitting only .226 but has 4 RBIs and a .286 OBP, which is not great but not deplorable considering he’s only played 8 games. J.D. also finally took lift off a few games ago and should get some slack for not having a full Spring Training. Jackie Bradley Jr. however has no excuse for his .115 BA, with 0 RBIs and only two extra-base hits. One positive is that he only has three strikeouts under his belt.
Scott Neville – Head Baseball Writer – WTF Sports Nation