clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Flyby - Why the Red Sox are Good Again

Three responses! OK, technically two, but there was also an email.

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images

If you haven’t heard, the Red Sox are good again and find themselves back in the division race! It took some time to get on a roll, but behind some excellent pitching as well as some excellent hitting, they’ve done it!

Get the duck boats ready!

Alright, let’s slow down a bit. The team is good, but there are still some questions to address before we should be punching a ticket to defeat the Dodgers in the World Series again (you know it’s going to be them losing their third straight World Series). But rather than worry about what’s coming tomorrow, let’s focus on why life is good today.

Enter David Price - Bosoxsince89

What they said - Yes, I know, a starting pitcher only pitches once every five games. He does not play in every game, but hear me out. David Price is the one we should be thanking. He was the pitcher who did the best job of keeping the team in the game when every other starting pitcher was going through some pain. He didn’t dominate, but he kept the boat afloat, and kept things from truly spinning out of control. His numbers are good, but that’s not why he’s our unsung hero.

David Price represents an unorthodox selection. You don’t look at a 3.75 ERA, and think “yeah, this is the reason we’re on the way back up”. And in terms of fWAR (for whatever that’s really worth in a small sample size), he doesn’t even lead Red Sox rotation (Eduardo Rodriguez does, actually!). So there’s an argument he’s not even the best Red Sox pitcher at this point in the season.

Boston Red Sox v Chicago White Sox Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Outside of his first start, he’s kept the team in the game every time out. Unfortunately, that hasn’t correlated to results (the Sox are 2-4 in his starts, as opposed to 6-2 in Rodriguez starts, and 5-3 in Rick Porcello starts). Price actually represents an oddity on the roster, where he is performing better than just about anyone besides Chris Sale (or should I say recent Chris Sale), but is usually on the wrong side of the decision this year.

While Price has kept the Sox in the game, it hasn’t led to more wins, so I’m not inclined to say Price is our unsung hero. He’s done his part, for certain, and he’s playing a key role on this year’s roster, but his role seems to be more along the lines of an innings eater, who keeps the bullpen out of the game for as long as possible. While the bullpen has performed well, there’s a decent chance that will not continue to be the case, and it almost feels like they are playing with fire.

My guess? David Price, while not the hero right now, will be one of the key heroes later in the season, once the bullpen starts getting exposed. This team is going to need starters to go 6 or 7 innings every time out. Of the players on this roster, when healthy, David Price is the man you trust most to do just that.

Death, Taxes, and Mitchy Fun Bags - Phantom255x

What they said - Moreland literally won us 3 or 4 games single-handedly. We were 4-9, and if not for Moreland may have been more like 0-13. Also, Steven Pearce has been miserable at the plate, so it’s been on Moreland to do even more. He leads the team in dingers, and while he hasn’t been as much a sparkplug as Michael Chavis has been over the past few weeks, this team may have been in an even deeper hole without him.

Our readers went with the “keep the boat from sinking” theme for this week’s prompt, and there’s a good reason for that. For the longest time this season, the Red Sox boat seemed to be taking on water, and some days, it felt like the question was more “when will we fall out of the playoff race” rather than “will we fall out of the playoff race”.

It’s a long season though, and you can’t really win or lose a division in April is my feeling. Sure, individual games we lost in April may come back to haunt us later in the season, but no more than a game at this point in the season would, or a game in August, or even September. All losses are equal in terms of value (1 loss is equal to exactly 1 loss), if not in meaning.

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

So when it comes to the idea that all losses are equal, where a single loss in April can be just as detrimental to a team’s success as a loss in September, keeping the team afloat is extremely valuable. A single win now is a win you don’t need to get later, that gives you a little bit of extra cushion. Either that, or it’s another day you get to be in the playoff race before falling out and playing what many deem as “meaningless baseball” (no such thing in my opinion).

Moreland has definitely earned his bread this season. Ignore for a minute his batting average, his strikeout totals, or how many times he’s grounded into a double play, and repeat with me: twelve dingers in thirty-seven games. You shouldn’t pro-rate things like that, but if he played that well for a full season, that’d be either 52 or 53 home runs, depending on whether you round up or down (not my business). There have been exactly four instances of a player hitting 50 or more home runs since 2010.

While I highly doubt he hits even forty of them, and that he’s probable to slow down at some point, he’s provided a lot of offensive firepower early in the season, and helped keep the team afloat.

Chavis Is No Núñez- Yuckster

Note - Due to an oversight, I did not see their email until recently, and was unable to get a FanPost put up for this user. If this user does post the FanPost later, I will link it in this article as well. I will roughly paraphrase the email sent to me.

What they said - We know Devers is good, and Mookie and Benintendi are reverting to their norms. Moreland’s first half streak is fantastic, and a great value. The pitching has turned around... but even then, we’re only really the Red Sox, and winning (at least with the current roster) when we’re scoring in bunches. The best provider of offense, by any measure... has been Michael Chavis.

I find it hard to disagree with the general principle of this argument, because by the number, Michael Chavis has been something of a revelation in his first 20 games, hitting a cool .282/.407/.563, with six home runs (and a mammoth 7 that still hasn’t landed, as I write this article), and 19 runs batted in.

Colorado Rockies v Boston Red Sox Photo by Kathryn Riley /Getty Images

He’s done this while playing acceptable defense at second base, filling in for the injured Dustin Pedroia, Eduardo Núñez, and Brock Holt (and playing so well, that many are ok with the aforementioned taking their time getting back). Probably the most impressive thing out of Chavis, in my opinion, is his eye.

His eye has come relatively unadvertised. With his walk rate usually in the 7.0-7.9% area, and so many strikeouts on his ledger, a lot of fans were expecting him to be a much less refined hitter, with a lesser approach at the plate. But every at bat has seemingly had meaning, and been methodically approached by Chavis. He’s watching bad pitches go, he’s taking the good ones, and he’s doing it in a way that suggests that he may have just evolved as a hitter on the fly, and in the major leagues to boot.

The Red Sox are 14-6 in games Chavis has played in, and they are more closely resembling the 2018 Red Sox than they were at the start of the season.

Time will tell if Michael Chavis is this good for real, but for the time being, he’s definitely been a crucial x-factor for a team that badly needed an infusion of offense.

And that’s it for this week! Did we forget somebody? Sound off below!