After a Saturday night full of celebration, the Red Sox took the field for one last regular season game on Sunday. The lineup did not look great on paper, as was expected. In fact, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Rafael Devers were the only everyday players to play, not including Christian Vazquez. Hector Velazquez got the start, and though his leash was not long he still performed well. Four innings of shutout baseball, three hits, two walks, and four strikeouts. He’s probably not going to see any action in the postseason, but I expect Velazquez to be fighting for a spot on the 25-man roster come February.
We saw the good and bad from the bullpen today. Robby Scott, Matt Barnes, and Joe Kelly all looked good, while Fernando Abad and Brandon Workman were key contributers to the Astros’ four run rally in the seventh. It depends on how many relievers they carry, but I can’t see the Red Sox wasting a playoff roster spot on Abad, he’s been an end of the ‘pen guy all year and has rarely pitched in high leverage situations. As for Workman, I think John Farrell likes him too much not to include him.
Rafael Devers was the star offensively, as the young third baseman drove in the first two runs for the Sox while also scoring the third. That all came in the fourth, and the Red Sox bats could not do much after that. We also saw guys like Rajai Davis, Brock Holt, Chris Young, and Deven Marrero all get the chance to prove themselves. If I had to choose two of them, I think I’d have to go with Davis and Marrero, depending on the health of Eduardo Nunez. Davis provides speed off the bench while Marrero provides great defense late in games (looking at you, Rafael.) I know Young can bring some power and Holt can play anywhere, but with the way the Red Sox have played this season, I think speed and defense are your best options.
As for season totals, Chris Sale led the club with K’s (308), IP (214.1), BAA (.208), WHIP (0.97), ERA (2.90), and W’s (17). All that, and he still won’t win the Cy Young. Sad!
Offensively, Mookie Betts led the Red Sox in nearly every important category except AVG and OBP. 166 H, 24 HR, 102 RBI, .459 SLG, and a .803 OPS to name a few. All this in a down year for the right fielder. If he figures a few things out, he could be back in that MVP form he had in 2016 in no time.
Also, shout out to Craig Kimbrel. Unreal year for the best closer in baseball. Career best 126 K’s for Dirty Craig, love to see it.
Red Sox kick off a best of five game series against these Astros in Houston on Thursday. Chris Sale will get the start, and I’m sure the Red Sox will be getting Verlander or Kuechel to start this ALDS.
Should be interesting, time to go on a World Series run.
93 down, 0 to go.