Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com (May 19, 2018 – Source: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images North America)
Another week is in the books for the Boston Red Sox, and the season is officially halfway over. After struggling against their kryptonite in the Oakland Athletics, the Sox rebounded by taking three of four against the Baltimore Orioles. The offense is on fire, and the pitching is steadily improving. Without further ado, here is the Boston Red Sox week eight recap.
Boston Red Sox Week Eight Recap: The Good
Is there anything Mookie Betts cannot do? Betts has been one of the best players in baseball ever since entering the league, but he’s taken his game to another level this year. Mookie’s gone .407/.429/.741 with a 214 wRC+ over the past week to add to his .368/.439/.767 and 215 wRC+ season stat line. The Red Sox right fielder leads the league in almost every statistical category, including hits, batting average, on-base percentage, extra-base hits, and more.
Quite frankly, Mookie Betts is playing like the best player in baseball. If he can keep this pace up, he could have one of the greatest seasons in baseball history. His glove is just as good as his bat, and he’d win MVP if the season ended today. The Red Sox need to pay this guy now.
After pitching through a hand injury resulting in five subpar outings, David Price endured endless ridicule for skipping his scheduled start against the New York Yankees. Turns out it’s a good thing Price missed his start, as he’s back to pitching like an ace after receiving treatment for his hand.
Price threw a complete game against the Baltimore Orioles in what might have been the best start by any Red Sox pitcher all season. While he did give up a two-run blast in the bottom of the ninth, Price put together an absolute clinic in pitching. He got through his outing in just 91 pitches, striking out eight while allowing just five hits and no walks. In games where his hand isn’t bothering him, Price has thrown 28.1 innings while allowing just four earned runs. If he can keep this form going forward, he and Chris Sale could form the best one-two punch this side of the Astros.
Andrew Benintendi entered the season with the highest of expectations and finally seems to have found his swing after a slow start. From the season opener until May 8th, Benintendi posted a relatively pedestrian .244/.331/.390 slash line with a 92 wRC+.
However, the young lefty has started slugging like crazy over the past week in a half. Since May 9th, Benintendi has posted a .364/.442/.636 slash line with a 186 wRC+. Betts and J.D. Martinez overshadowed his performance, but he’s one of the hottest hitters in baseball. Boston will have one of the best offenses in the league as long as these three are performing.
The early season struggles continue for Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz, famous for his “bend but don’t break” starts, finally broke against the Baltimore Orioles. The struggling lefty went four innings, allowing four runs while walking three and striking out just two. This ugly start brought his season ERA up to 5.97.
Outside of his start against the New York Yankees, Pomeranz has yet to impress this season. He doesn’t go deep into games, and even when he doesn’t allow many runs, he always allows baserunners and high pitch counts. He’s still just one year removed from a very strong campaign, but he’s running out of time to find that form.
The recently returned Steven Wright pitched well in two relief appearances, and Hector Velazquez has yet to have a bad outing this season. If Pomeranz can’t get it together soon, manager Alex Cora will have no choice but to replace Pomeranz in the lineup.
Jackie Bradley Jr.
Earlier in the season, Red Sox Unfiltered’s own Patrick Green wrote an article about Jackie Bradley Jr.’s slow start. In it, he argued that it was impossible for JBJ to stay this bad for so long. In a sense, Patrick was right, as Jackie’s stat lines have changed since early April.
Unfortunately, they’ve changed for the worse. The longtime center fielder is nothing but a strikeout machine and is an easy out every time. He’s having trouble catching up to 92 mph fastballs, which major leaguers shouldn’t struggle hitting. Bradley’s been relegated to a platoon role, but frankly, his terrible offense can’t even justify that limited role.
Bradley needs some time off the major league roster to clear his head. He’s a naturally streaky player, and this slump has to be deep in his head. The center fielder still has a minor league option left, and the team could send him down. If they choose not to go that route, they could throw him on the 10-day DL. Something needs to be done because right now Jackie Bradley is not an MLB-caliber player.