The Red Sox Turnaround Has Just Begun

Jack McGinn '19, Emma West '19

“Chris Sale’s contract ruined him.”

“David Price stinks again.”

“Mookie peaked last year.”

“The bullpen is a bunch of nobodies.”

“Jackie Bradley Jr. will never hit over .200 this year.”

Yeah, you got us on the JBJ take. But the Red Sox season is finally turning around, and you should hop on the bandwagon while you still have the chance. With a win on Wednesday 5/8, the now .500 Red Sox are beginning to recover from their miserable championship hangover.

First thing’s first: Chris Sale is back. 8 innings, 3 hits, no walks, and an immaculate inning (okay, it was against the Orioles, but you can’t do much better than that). He also had an impressive outing against his former Chicago White Sox (6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H), the first sign of life for our beloved Stickman.

After two highly mediocre starts, David Price bounced back on April 14 with a 7 inning outing against – you guessed it – Baltimore. He now is posting a 3.75 ERA, which isn’t great, but it’s encouraging considering the start he had. Maybe the Sox’ ban of Fortnite is helping him stay on track.

After betting on himself by turning down a $200 million offer this offseason, reigning AL MVP Mookie Betts got off to a slow start. He’s started to pick it back up of late, as he’s increased his batting average to .290 with an on-base percentage of .405. Last year’s productivity will be hard to match for Betts this year, so no matter how well he plays, it’s possible it’ll still be seen as a down year comparatively. The only scenario we could see him landing less than $200 million on his next contract is if he has a down year overall and decides to sign a short term deal to take a chance on himself once again.

Even without the greedy Craig Kimbrel (no one’s going to give you a 6-year deal, buddy), our band of misfits in the bullpen is looking good. Ryan Brasier, who was playing in Japan just two years ago, is 2-1 while posting a 3.45 ERA. Lately, he’s also been the closer for the team and has six saves so far. Brandon Workman is even more impressive: he has a 1.53 ERA (that’s three runs in 19 appearances, folks…not to mention only TWO hits). “Matty Backpacks” (Matt Barnes) is posting a similarly impressive 1.76 ERA, as well as a few saves.

And again, while JBJ’s average is well below the coveted Mendoza line, he showed his defensive prowess in the game that brought the Sox to .500: he made a game-saving catch to rob Trey Mancini of a would-be walk-off home run in the 11th. As much as we love J.D. “Just Dingers” Martinez, he’s a defensive liability. JBJ’s gold glove has a rightful place in this outfield, as much as it’s tough to watch him strike out for the fourth time every game.

J.D. is his usual self at the plate, though, slashing .309/.384/.475. Xander’s also been consistently clutch (he has 23 RBIs already and has hit 7 homers, tied with Mookie for the second-most on the team) and Mitch Moreland has single-handedly won upwards of half a dozen games for the Sox with his team-leading 10 homers. The team also has a new spark of energy: the Ice Horse himself, Michael Chavis. In just 17 games, he’s hitting .293 with six – yes, you read that right, SIX – homers. His infectious, fun-loving personality has also been just what the somewhat flat team needed a couple of weeks ago.

Although the beginning of the season created a bleak outlook for the 2019 Boston Red Sox, this week marked a big swing of positive momentum; hopefully, we’ll be able to look back on this week as the one that turned their season around. Sure, there’s always room for more fans in Red Sox Nation, but it’s always a more fun experience seeing success from a team you’re invested in whether they’re winning or losing. We suggest hopping on the bandwagon now, or you’ll miss out on a chance to watch another one of Boston’s elite sports teams performing at a high level despite being previously written off (we don’t talk about the Celtics anymore).