The Red Sox have been far from good recently and somehow they are still in first place. This team has been very fortunate to remain where they are, and a lot of that has to do with the rest of the division struggling.
Offense: The Big Concern
The Red Sox led the entire MLB in batting average heading into the All Star break and in the last 17 games have just hit .206 as a ball club. They have now dropped down to sixth in the MLB in batting average. Although that is still top 10, that is a large drop off in a short amount of time and is certainly a concern.
They remain top 10 (7th) in on-base percentage and are 11th in runs scored, which isn’t horrible, but they rank 25th in slugging percentage, which for a first place team is amazing they are where they are.
They're 22-20 with .248 AVG/.718 OPS against teams above .500. They're 5-7 since AS break while scoring 3.25 RPG. Offense a legit concern. https://t.co/0CYyn2ZfwL
— Jason Mastrodonato (@JMastrodonato) July 26, 2017
Coming into the season, the pitching was the real question mark, but they actually have one of the best overall pitching staffs in the entire league. It won’t hurt to acquire another arm in the bullpen, but this team needs a bat and needs one bad. You can see from the tweet that against teams over .500 they are 22-20. That’s all fine now while you can still beat up on the sub .500 teams, but come October, that’s going to hit you hard and we saw that last year in the ALDS.
Devers to the Rescue?
The Sox have just called up Rafael Devers, who’s killing it offensively down in Pawtucket.
In 2017, 309 players have played at least 75 games in Double-A, Triple-A or both. Of that group, Rafael Devers has the 8th best OPS (.955).
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) July 25, 2017
Offensively this guy seems to be a stud. He struggled defensively in his short stint with Pawtucket, but that could be due to nerves. Regardless, defense has not been the problem at third for the Sox since Sandoval has been gone. The platoon that has been rotating at the hot corner has been great on defense, but offensively they have provided nothing. So, in comes Devers. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts. Maybe he will make a quick transitions to the Bigs like his teammate Andrew Benintendi, maybe not. We’ll have to see.
The AL East
Here is how the AL East currently looks.
The entire AL East has been awful in the last month plus.
AL East since June 15th
BOS (18-18, .500)
TBR (16-16, .500)
BAL (16-19, .457)
TOR (13-21, .382)
NYY (13-21, .382)
— Boston Sports Info (@bostonsportsinf) July 25, 2017
The Sox have actually had the best record over the last month, but these last few weeks would make you think otherwise, that’s how bad it’s been. It is almost shocking to see how fast the Yankees have fallen off. Right around June 15th it looked as thought the Yankees were going to run away with the division before they swapped spots with the Red Sox and the Sox caught fire. Now both teams and the rest of the league are struggling badly. At one point, the Rays looked to be a real threat and now they have quickly lost five games in a row.
Luckily for us, the Sox still hold a two game lead in the AL East and are still in a good position because of the despite the struggles. They have been lucky up to this point, but the league is very much up for grabs and they need to fix their offense and fix it fast, before they lose their lead.