The American League East is there for the Taking; Can the Sox Get it done?
It appears to us at redsoxlife.com that the only team that stands in the way of the Boston Red Sox and the American League East Division Championship is the Baltimore Orioles. Judging by the games played this past week that may be a big hurdle. But is it insurmountable? Hardly.
The two teams ended the weekend in a virtual tie for first place, each 2.5 games ahead of the red hot Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays are the defending A.L. East Champions. So why do we not consider them to be a potential roadblock? For one thing, the Jays won it last year in large part because they acquired David Price for the stretch run. This year, the Sox will have him for the entire season.
Also, the Jays tend to have hot streaks and then cold streaks. At times, they look every bit the team they were last season after the trade deadline, then they go a week or more where they look like the same old Jays. Right now they’ve won eight of ten and trail by 2.5. By next week they could be six or seven down again and it would surprise nobody.
The Orioles do not appear to be going anywhere; they’ve been at or near the top of the standings since they dropped the green flag on the season. They were the last team in the American League to lose a game and they’ve stayed there through two months.
The Birds also can rake, as the Sox learned this week. In a four game series in Baltimore, the Sox began with two nice wins, 6-2 and 7-2 and were feeling pretty good about themselves. Then the calendar flipped to June on Wednesday and the Sox were pounded for 25 runs in the series final two games as Baltimore salvaged a split.
The Red Sox and Orioles both have a lot of hitting. Jackie Bradley Jr recently had a hit streak of 29 games and when it ended the baseball world learned that Xander Bogaerts had a 20+ gamer himself. Big Papi still hits the ball like a young man. He has 16 homers and 54 RBIs in two months. That would be about 150 RBIs and 48 home runs at his current pace. Not bad for guy on his last go round, huh? Kobe Bryant had one last game where he scored 60 in his finale. What Big Papi has done so far has had an entire season like that.
Here is a stat that makes us like the Red Sox chances n the East. Right now, the O’s have a run differential of +16, the Jays are +17 and the Tampa Bay Rays are -3. The Sox are at +69! If this keeps up it would seem that the Sox should parlay that into more wins. Think about that run differential being what it is even after surrendering 25 runs in two games against the O’s where they lost by nine runs.
If the run differential keeps playing out like this, then the Sox should get more wins out of it. That’s just basic math and common sense.
Of course, nothing is really settled until the trade deadline in late July. But one would think if the Sox are involved in the race, and there is no indication they won’t be, they will have money and prospects to spend on whatever shortcoming they may have. The Jays axquire Price and Troy Tulowitzki last year and it shot them to the top. The Sox had ne reason to make any moves, mired in last place. This year will be different.
Plus, there is also the Wild Card if winning the East fails. The Sox should be in great shape if they have to go to a one-game playoff. Price pithed in such a game when he was with the Rays and went on the road to Cleveland and pitched Tampa Bay into the ALDS (which they lost to the Sox). So Price would be a great guy to go to if they must win a play-in game.
We really love the Sox chances to win the East this season. Mookie Betts, JBJ And Xander are only going to get better. The “win one for Papi” thing will only gain steam the longer the Sox stay in the race. If Price can finish strong they have a number one better than anyone the Orioles have. They can slug with the Birds, maybe even better.
We all know that when the Sox get in, they are a very dangerous team ever since they finally broke the Curse. They have three World Championships and really haven’t been contenders very often except in those three seasons. So if you are a Sox fan, you have to be pretty excited right now.