Boston Red Sox: From Pretender To Contender?
By Michael Burgner
Last year, the Boston Red Sox came into the 2015 regular season as one of the hot teams to watch, giving lots of hope to their fans. They had signed on Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval to create an offensive powerhouse, and on the pitching side they added Rick Porcello who had been improving and seemed to be poised for his best season to date. That plan fell to shambles. They ended up finishing dead last in the AL East (78-84) and their big signings ended up being some of their worst performers. Hanley Ramirez finished with a .249 Batting Average, playing in only 105 games due to a shoulder injury. “The Kung-Fu Panda,” Pablo Sandoval, seemed to have lost his chi and batted only .245 with a slugging percentage below .400 (.336). Rick Porcello was no help either, posting his only non 10 win season. Red Sox fans could not have been happy.
This year however it seems to be a different story, the Red Sox are tied for first place and 10 games over .500 (34-24). They seem to be doing everything right, being the only team in the AL East that is over .500 both on the road and at home. Their pitching staff is doing better with the addition of Craig Kimbrel and David Price. David Price has been solid for the team posting a 7-2 record in 12 starts. Rick Porcello has also stepped it up returning to a solid pitcher with a 7-2 record. Craig Kimbrel was one of the top relievers in the game before signing with the Red Sox for 4 years/$42 million and he has continued his success.
The real key to their turn around this year though has been their offense. After getting over his shoulder injury, Hanley Ramirez is now batting .277, but the most impressive player is Xavier Bogaerts. The 23-year-old seems to have finally come into his own and is batting an AL leading .346 average. The team has the highest batting average in the MLB(.292) which is .15 higher than the next team Pittsburgh. David Ortiz does not show signs of slowing down at his age, leading the MLB in RBI’s. But the question becomes: can he keep it up? Can the whole team keep up this pace of leading in Batting Average and RBI’s? Even if they do, they’d have to be wary of their team’s overall ERA 4.35 if they want to continue the success throughout the season.