Can the Red Sox keep up the winning?
The Yankees, formerly a juggernaut, then riding the struggle bus, and now once again flexing their expensive muscles, are also in very hot pursuit of the Sox.
Do the Red Sox have the juice to stay on top?
Here’s a few reasons why and why not.
The Case for Staying in First and the Red Sox to Keep Winning
The Red Sox offense has scored the most runs in the MLB.
Ostensibly that means you have a good team.
Even has Houston has a higher batting average and the Dodgers, finally past their slump, are back to stacking up wins on the backs of their offense (and pitching, Yowza are they good), they still sit just behind the Sox.
Do the Red Sox have the best offense in baseball? Maybe.
They definitely have one of the best middle-of-the-lineup trios in Xander Bogaerts, JD Martinez, and Rafael Devers.
They should be enough to at least stay in contention. Those dudes rake. If the rest of the lineup can continue to lend their support, the Red Sox will be in every game.
However, as has been the case for most of the Red Sox’s recent history, scoring runs is not the problem.
The Case Against the Surprising Sox
So yea…the pitching being good was a fluke, like many thought.
This is, like expected, not a team with strong starting pitching (Chris Sale, help us!).
The xFIP of this squad (that is, the Field Independent Pitching accounting for expected HRs – a better indicator of how pitchers are actually performing than traditional stats like WHIP and ERA) tells a story that matches the eye test.
This is not a team with a bunch of aces.
Here is the list, from best to worst, of the xFIP of the 5 Sox pitchers with the most starts. It reads how many would have expected going into this year.
That is all but 2 of the starts by Sox pitchers this season (thanks Tanner Houck!).
It is not…great..but it could be last year.
That being said, the Red Sox do not have the pitching to contend. Some games, you wont be able to score 5 runs. Those games, it would seem, are going to be close.
Here’s the Skinny for the Red Sox to Keep Winning
I guess, they are playing okay.
No, I really do not think so. But hanging around in this division is accomplishment enough for this team.
Chris Sale will come back and hopefully give the team the shot in the pitching arm the really need right now.
Sorry to say, but an encouraging 3rd place finish is in store for an overachieving Boston team.