By: Nick Pooler
As the season began, the Boston Red Sox lost the opener to the Rays. The bullpen struggled and blew the lead. It left all Sox fans wondering how the bullpen was going to bounce back. They all felt they were in for a long season.
For those fans that thought that, they could not have been more far from wrong. The Sox are currently 17-3 and the hottest team in baseball. They have swept the Marlins, Rays, Orioles and Angels. They won 2 out of 3 against the Yankees, 2 out of 3 against the other Rays series, and so far 1 out of 2 against the Athletics with the 3rd game coming this afternoon. Chris Sale David Price, Rick Porcello (who looks to be in cy-young award mode again), are the big names getting the job done. But on the lower end, there have been some key players that name is not very well known that are getting the job done. Hector Velazquez, he has started twice for the Sox with a stat line of 16.2 innings, 2.70 ERA, 12 strikeouts and a record of 3-0. Since the return of Drew Pomeranz he has moved to the bullpen but he will continue to be a spot starter for the Sox. Brian Johnson is another one just like Velazquez. Has started one game for them, along with 5 out of the bullpen. ERA of 2.08 with 14 K’s. Craig Kimbrel has not been called upon much due to a tremendous amount of blowouts so far but he is 5 for 5 on save opportunities with a 0.00 ERA.
Hitting wise, besides getting no-hit last night, the Red Sox have been unstoppable. Boasting 5 grand-slams so far in the first month. They hit zero last season! The power that they needed and wanted is finally there as they have 26 home runs through 20 games including 11 alone in the Angels series. Mookie Betts had a 3 home run game against them. The team leaders for batting average include, Xander Bogaerts (.368), Betts (.366), and recently called up Tzu-Wei Lin (.333). Home runs: Betts (6), JD Martinez (4), and Hanley Ramirez and Rafael Devers each with 3. RBI’s: Devers (17), and Martinez and Ramirez with 15 apiece. This team has been awesome the watch and they don’t give up. The scary thing is they have been without Bogaerts, Tyler Thornburg, Dustin Pedroia and Steven Wright. When they all come back the lineup could be something like this; Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Ramirez, Martinez, Bogaerts, Devers, Pedroia, Christian Vazquez, and Jackie Bradley Jr.. With the bench being Brock Holt, Mitch Moreland, Eduardo Nunez and Sandy Leon. Along with Blake Swihart and Lin being available at any given moment. Put this lineup in alongside the pitching rotation of Sale, Price, Porcello, Pomeranz and Wright/Eduardo Rodriguez. With a bullpen of Carson Smith, Thornburg, Joe Kelly, Velazquez, Heath Hembree, Matt Barnes and Kimbrel. This team is scary good.
This is a team that the Sox fans have been waiting for. The perfect combination of a young core with Betts, Bogaerts, Devers and Benintendi, along with the perfect amount of veteran leadership with Pedroia, Ramirez, Martinez and Moreland. This lineup is lethal and hopefully will shine from here on out. Stay tuned Sox fans, this is going to be a long year but hopefully one that will last a lifetime.