Tha Sports Junkies 101

2016 Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Drew P. via


Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox have locked down a playoff berth and are closing in on a division title

With a strong performance from Cy Young candidate Rick Porcello on Saturday, the Boston Red Sox locked up a playoff spot. The Red Sox have a 91-64 record and are currently on a 10 game win streak. Even though the Sox lead the AL East by 5.5 games over the Toronto Blue Jays, they have not clinched a division title yet. They have a magic number of one to clinch the division and could be popping champagne any day now. Lets take a look into how the Red Sox have done this season and see where they stack up against other potential postseason opponents.

The story of the season for the Red Sox has of course been the retirement of David “Big Papi” Ortiz. Many expected to see Ortiz ride off into the sunset quietly in his finally year but he has done just the opposite. He is hitting .318 with 37 home runs and 124 RBI’s. For most of his career, Ortiz has been used as a DH which could account for his success in his final season. He doesn’t have to worry about defense; all he has to do is see the ball and hit the ball. That mindset is why Ortiz is a possible MVP candidate this season.

Behind “Big Papi”, the Red Sox have a core of young players that know how to hit the ball. Right fielder Mookie Betts and shortstop Xander Bogaerts have combined to hit 51 home runs with 31 of those coming off the bat of Betts. Mookie also leads the team with a .321 batting average and 208 hits.

With the outstanding play of Betts and Bogaerts, it would be easy to overlook the fantastic seasons that Hanley Ramirez and Jackie Bradley Jr. are having. Ramirez has 29 home runs and 110 RBI’s while hitting .294. Bradley is not far behind with 26 home runs and a .271 batting average.

Looking at all the offensive weapons that the Red Sox have, it would be safe to say that they have the best offense in baseball. Their 852 runs scored, .285 team batting average, .351 OBP and .468 slugging percentage all lead the major leagues. This offense alone would be enough to carry this team into the playoffs but paired with good pitching, this team becomes almost unstoppable.

Rick Porcello leads the entire major leagues with 22 wins. He also has a team leading 3.11 ERA to go along with his 183 strikeouts in 217 innings pitched. Porcello is making a very strong case for AL Cy Young and he may get it. If he does, the Red Sox could end up with the AL MVP and AL Cy Young award winner on the same team.

Signed in the offseason, David Price has been a little underwhelming so far this season. The Red Sox brought Price in to be the ace this season and he has not performed like the Red Sox had hoped. Still, he has a 3.91 ERA with a team leading 222 strikeouts in 218.2 innings. Even though he has been a little lack luster, he still has been a solid two starter for a rotation that lacks depth. Other than Steven Wright, Rick Porcello and David Price, no other Red Sox pitcher has made more than 20 starts this season. Clay Buchholz has made exactly 20 starts while Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz have made 18 and 13 starts respectively. Both Rodriguez and Pomeranz have ERA’s over 4.50 this season which raises concerns about the depth of the Red Sox rotation.

One option for the Red Sox would be to go with a three-man rotation with Porcello, Price and Wright. That strategy could backfire as those three starters would have to work on a little shorter rest. Steven Wright is not even 100% healthy as he is battling a shoulder problem and is considered day-to-day.

With at least a wild card spot locked up, the Red Sox can afford to rest some of their regulars. Do not expect them to do that much until they fully capture the AL East crown. A division title means a whole lot more than a second wild card.

The Red Sox will lose a very valuable player in David Ortiz at the end of the year but with young players like Betts, Bogaerts and rookies Andrew Benintendi, Blake Swihart and Yoan Moncada, the Red Sox have a very good core of young players to build around.

Expect to see the Red Sox lock up the AL East in the coming days and roll into the playoffs as one of the best teams in baseball. It will be tough for any AL team to beat the Red Sox in a five or seven game series with the talent they have at the top of their rotation. The Red Sox seem like a very likely candidate to make the World Series where they could meet the Chicago Cubs.

Once the playoffs roll around, it is almost impossible to predict the outcome. One thing is for certain though; the Red Sox have the talent to win the World Series in 2016.