After having the best record in the American League East, the Boston Red Sox have bowed out of the postseason in the ALDS, effectively ending their 2017 season. As the 2017 season comes to a close, here are the top five stories that the Sox have given us this season.
- Rotation shuffle
At the beginning of the season, would you have believed me if I had told you that Drew Pomeranz would be the clear number two starter behind Chris Sale? At the start of the season, Pomeranz was a complete afterthought in the Red Sox rotation, behind the likes of Sale, David Price, and 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello. Throughout the course of the season, Sale remained dominant (we’ll get to that later), but Price would be stung by the injury bug and Porcello by the same inconsistencies that plagued his past. Stepping up in their place was Pomeranz, who posted a 17-6 record with an impressive 3.32 earned run average.
- Mitchy Two-Bags to the rescue
When Mitch Moreland was brought in during the offseason to fill the Big Papi-sized hole in the lineup, it was received with little fanfare. Moreland had the reputation of being a solid if not unspectacular player in Texas, one who got the job done while staying under the radar. In Boston, Moreland became a cult hero with the fans, who gave him the nickname “Mitchy Two-Bags” due to his knack for hitting doubles. In his first year with the Red Sox, Moreland posted a .246 average, 13 points higher than his last season in Texas, and slugged 22 homers in 2017. He also had an appearance on the mound during Player’s Weekend in August, proving that Mitchy Two-Bags can do it all.
- Eck V. Price
The most controversial story to come out of Boston this summer was the feud between David Price and Red Sox legend turned NESN commentator Dennis Eckersley. During a June game, the minor league statistics of Eduardo Rodriguez were flashed on the screen, to which Eckersley reacted a bit disgusted. A few days later, Price confronted the Hall of Famer on a team plane and cursed him out. Defending a teammate? Maybe. But did Price take it too far? Definitely. Needless to say, most of the public was on Eckersley’s side in this feud.
- The Unhittable Mr. Sale
When the Red Sox acquired Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox in the offseason, GM Dave Dombrowski gave up a village of prospects, including two top prospects in Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech. One year in, and the trade looks to be a stroke of brilliance, as Sale looks to be a frontrunner in the AL Cy Young Award vote. Though he struggled in the postseason, Sale was dominant for most of the regular season, posting one of the best strikeouts-per-nine-innings rates of all time. Sale’s 12.9 K/9 rate was the third best of all time, behind only Randy Johnson in 2001 and Pedro Martinez in 1999. Furthermore, Sale now only trails Johnson in career K/9. Sale also joined elite company like Johnson, Sandy Koufax, and Clayton Kershaw as pitchers who recorded over 300 strikeouts over the course of the season.
- Devers for the future
Ever since Mike Lowell retired, the Red Sox have had a rotating cast play third base. From Will Middlebrooks to Pablo Sandoval, it seemed as though the Sox had a new third baseman every couple of months or so. The Red Sox came into the 2017 season thinking that a finally healthy Sandoval could stop the revolving door of third basemen. They had traded 2016 third baseman Travis Shaw, and looked to be going all-in with Sandoval. Fast forward a couple weeks, and Sandoval is struggling. For the months of May and June, the Sox rotated utility players Josh Rutledge, Tzu-Wei Lin, and Marco Hernandez, along with having utility outfielder Brock Holt try his hand at fielding the hot corner. Twenty-year-old rookie Rafael Devers made his debut on July 25th, and instantly fixed the hole that the Red Sox had desperately needed to be fixed. During his first week in Boston, Devers batted .417 with two home runs, the best production from a Red Sox third baseman in any week-long stretch all season. He would finish the season with a .284 batting average with ten home runs. Most importantly, the Sox now have a genuine talent at the hot corner who will hopefully become a key part in Red Sox lineups for years to come.
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