More than halfway through the season, and with the trade deadline looming, we check in with Phil Stone (@MrPhilipStone) to see how he feels the Red Sox have done so far, and what is in store for the rest of the year.
Hello and welcome to the best team in baseball. The Red Sox were fast out the gate in 2018, becoming the first team in more than 30 years to win 17 of their opening 19 games. After a power-deficient 2017, the Sox have been awesome, ranking tops in slugging, OPS, runs, RBIs and batting average, and second in home runs. Daylight in the AL East has been hard to come by but with the Sox playing 58% of their remaining games at Fenway, where they have a 70% win record in 2018, a third pennant in a row looks likely.
Stars and flops
Mookie Betts has been phenomenal in 2018. His OBP is up 80 points versus the first half last year and he’s just three homers shy of topping his 2017 total (24). J D Martinez is the current home run (27) and RBI (74) leader while Xander Bogaerts’ has clubbed four more homers (14) thus far in 2018 than he managed in the whole of 2017. On the mound, Chris Sale has been Chris Sale and, happily, the 2018 edition of Rick Porcello has been more in line with his 2016 edition than his 2017 version. Flops? David Price, Drew Pomeranz and JBJ have had their struggles, while the Sox still lack a catcher who can hit (who doesn’t?), but one is clutching at straws for major areas of concern.
The Red Sox 11-0 rout over the Yankees on July 1 (Sale 11 Ks; Rafael Devers grand slam) was pretty special. Ditto Mookie’s two three-homer games (versus the Angels on April 17; versus the Royals on May 2). But my personal highlight was Rick Porcello’s unlikely three-run double off good pal Max Scherzer in a 5-4 victory over the Nats on July 3.
Revised Win-Loss Prediction
I cautiously predicted another 93-69 season for the Sox back in March, but you can put me down for 103-59 now.