Instead of steamrolling into the break, Boston looked vulnerable - still a formidable team, no question, but a team that can go flat. Sandoval was never going to look classically lean and fit, but when he showed up to spring training with a pudgy midsection, the worst fears of Red Sox fans were seemingly confirmed. He struggled with his weight and violated the Red Sox's social media policy - and that was just in the first year of his deal. He ranked 2 in the EL in Total Bases (165), 2in Extra-Base Hits (165), 3 in Slugging pct. John Farrell's team entered the game 0-38 this season when trailing entering the ninth inning. "I'm going to go back and try to see footage and see why because, honestly, I don't know why".
"It's frustrating because we have put ourselves in position to win some games and we haven't been able to close them out for whatever reason". Boston's charge to the top of the division before the break was fueled largely by Chris Sale and Mookie Betts, but scheduled starter Drew Pomeranz (9-4, 3.60) has also been excellent.
Check out Katie's Yankeemetrics post for more fun with numbers. Ideally, he still had some prime years left and would surely be an upgrade over the likes of Will Middlebrooks, Gavin Cecchini and Kelly Johnson that the Red Sox had suffered through the prior season. That being said, they stand to get much more healthy in the coming week, with Brock Holt, Josh Rutledge, and Eduardo Rodriguez all slated to return in the next week or so. He has surrendered only one home run during that stretch with 11 walks and 25 strikeouts. That has been enough for a stingy pitching staff that has led the team to an ERA of 3.82, fourth best in the Major League Baseball and second best in the AL.
But working in Boston's favor is that from a pitching standpoint, they are giving their best. The Red Sox have 10 days to trade or release him. "They were willing to allow us to do this". It's hard to see this offense as anything less than potent, but they're still waiting to truly break out.
Pat Neshek, a Philadelphia reliever who made it to the All-Star Game, is in the final year of his contract, and Boston figures to make a pitch to get him before the end of the month. He leads the majors in fWAR, K%, K-BB%, and park-adjusted FIP, and he's averaging better than 7 IP per start. Neshek is no stranger to the AL, he spent the last two season in Houston where he wasn't quite as sharp but he still only walked a dozen batters per year, while keeping his ERA near 3. It's that moldy, rotten cheese that the Red Sox continue to push to the back of the refrigerator even though it will only continue to smell and get worse. And as he progressed in age, he started to suffer more injuries as a result. As far as the American League East standings go, both the Yankees and the Red Sox are chasing the current leaders Baltimore Orioles, 12-5.