If you want to watch entertaining baseball during this upcoming season, I suggest watching the Boston Red Sox this summer. The boys from Boston are coming off of a 93-69 record, their second straight A.L. east title and an early exit in the postseason to the Houston Astros in the ALDS. The expectations are high for the Sox in 2018 and for good reason as this years team is loaded. They have an offense that can produce from 1-9 in the lineup, a defense that can make plays that will make your jaw drop on a consistent basis, a closer who is as shut down as the Government was in 1995 and a starting rotation that can be lethal at times.
If the Red Sox have one weakness coming into this season it is the back-end of their starting rotation. They have Rick Porrcello who had a huge let down season in 2017 after winning the Cy Young in 2016, Drew Pomeranz, a talented lefty from Tennessee who had a lackluster finish to last years season and Steven Wright, the knuckleballer who is old and washed up. The production of these three guys are going to be crucial for the Red Sox’s success and they will need to be efficient if the Sox want any chance to win the A.L East for the third straight year. All that being said, the Sox have a wicked strong front end of the rotation that includes one of the best aces in all of baseball. At the 2, the Red Sox are most likely are going to go with David Price who had a monster end to his 2017 season coming out of the bullpen. We all know Price has the ability to be elite when he is on and I think he is going to have a huge 2018 campaign. The Red Sox starting rotation is highlighted by one of the best pitchers in all of baseball, Chris Sale. Sale is an absolute superstar. The Southpaw from FGCU was on his way to the Cy young award in 2017 and midway through the season it looked like he was going to run away with it. Then, as the long grind that is known as the MLB regular season was winding down, Sale began to fade just a tad and lost the award to Corey Kluber. That being said he still finished with a monster 2017 campaign, finishing the season with a 17-8 record, a 2.90 ERA to go along with a major league leading 308 SO. I expect Sale to have another huge season and I think the key for him is just to finish the season strong and use that momentum in the postseason. The Red Sox also have one of the best closers in all of baseball in Craig Kimbrel who had a 1.43 ERA in 2017 and is as shut down of a closer as you will ever see. Overall, I think the Sox arms in 2018 have the potential to be something special, but it is all going to depend on the productivity from the back-end of their starting rotation.
As for the offensive expectations for the Sox coming into the season, they are through the roof because on paper, this is a top 5 offense in all of baseball. The Sox offense is led by their extremely athletic outfield, which is one of the best in baseball. In right, you have Mookie Betts, the extremely versatile athlete from Nashville who will give you 100 Rbis, 100 runs scored and 25 homers year in and year out. Betts is also an extremely talented right fielder and covers ground better than most guys in the majors. Then you shift over to center where you have Jackie Bradley Jr. who had a break out year just a season ago where he hit 17 homers and had a .323 OBP. Bradley is also ridiculously fast and will make plays in CF that will literally make you think to yourself “How is that even possible?” Capping off the Red Sox outfield is LF Andrew Benintendi, who can also be referred to as “Benni Biceps.” He stands in at a short height of 5 feet 10 inches but has one of the most ferocious swings in the game. Benintendi finished the 2017 season with a .271 BA, a .352 OBP, drove in 90 runs, stole 20 bags and hit 20 big flies on the year. I think Benintendi is one of the better young ball players we have in our game and think his numbers are only going to improve with time. I expect this whole OF to have a huge season both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. The Sox also have a young power hitting 3B in Rafael Devers who made a great impression during his rookie season last year. I like Devers to hit close to 30 homers this season and have him driving in 90. To Devers’s left you have Xander Bogaerts at short, Eduardo Nunez at second and a big bat in Mitch Moreland at first. They also have a border line hall of fame in Hanley Ramirez batting in the DH spot and you can start to catch on to a pattern. A pattern that states, that the talent in this lineup is unmatched by a majority of teams in the major leagues and there is really no weakness in it. Breaking news: on the day I wrote this the Red Sox acquired JD Martinez who had a huge 2017 season which featured over 40 homers so this acquisition just took this offense to an even more elite level than it already was at.)
Overall, I like this Red Sox team a lot. I think they are a very well-balanced team with a hell of an offense and are one you do not want to run into in October. I think the back-end of their rotation will produce and I think that is the deciding factor and is a factor that will put them over the top in the A.L East. I have them finishing the 2018 season with a 96-66 record, have them clinching their third straight A.L East title but by a very narrow margin as the A.L east will be the best division race we have seen in decades. I then have them unfortunately being knocked out by the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS in 5 games. One thing is for sure, Fenway is going rocking all summer long and the tunes of “Sweet Caroline” will fill the Boston air all the way up until the early fall because these guys will be playing baseball in October and October baseball in Boston is a beautiful, beautiful thing.