Sox in the Hunt for the Playoffs


Courtesy/Massachusetts Department of Tourism/Flickr

The Red Sox are currently second overall in the AL East.

John Anthony Risso, Sports Writer

The American League East Division has been all over the place this year. The standings look very different now than they did earlier in the season. The Boston Red Sox, a favorite team of New Englanders, went from running away with the division in the first few months of the season to barely staying alive in recent months.

The Red Sox downfall came at the trade deadline. There’s an adage in baseball that if your enemies get better and you do nothing, then you just got worse. This is exactly what happened to the Boston Red Sox. The Sox had some major holes to fill on their roster and only made one major move, that being Kyle Schwarber. This is a great move, but it simply wasn’t enough. Schwarber had a red-hot June, as he hit fifteen home runs in a seventeen-game stretch as a Washington National. That is astonishing as he is one of only three players to ever accomplish this feat. Schwarber has continued to produce as a Red Sox, but not to the same extent as he did earlier in the year. 

The Red Sox needed a first baseman and did nothing to acquire one. This is especially frustrating when the Cubs’ first baseman, Anthony Rizzo, was available. Rizzo won the Gold Glove Award four times and won the Silver Slugger Award once. He is also a four-time all-star. Rizzo is known for being a veteran lefty bat that would have made a large impact on the Red Sox season. 

To see how the Red Sox went wrong, let’s take a look at the moves that their rivals made. Unfortunately, the New York Yankees ended up trading for Anthony Rizzo. This adds insult to injury as the perfect fit for Boston ended up with their biggest rival. The Yanks also traded for Ranger’s slugger Joey Gallo. Both Rizzo and Gallo have brought life to the previously dead New York club. The Yankees looked horrid the first half of the season, but they went on a thirteen-game winning streak in the middle of August and revived their postseason chances. 

The all-powerful Tampa Bay Rays also made a huge acquisition of Nelson Cruz. Cruz is a possible Hall of Famer and is currently tied as the forty-second player on the all-time home run leaders list. He is a pure power hitter that cannot play defense well at all, which is why he’ll make a great addition to Tampa Bay as their designated hitter. 

The Toronto Blue Jays strengthened their starting rotation when they traded for José Berríos, giving up a big prospect haul. Berríos costs a lot in the trade because he is a young arm that has some time left on his contract. In other words, the Red Sox will have to deal with a Toronto rotation of Hyun Jin Ryu, Robbie Ray, José Berríos, Steven Matz, and probably Nate Pearson for years to come. In conclusion, the Red Sox lost control of first place because they simply did not upgrade their team enough while all their competitors upgraded in major ways. 

This doesn’t mean that the postseason chances for the Red Sox are out of the conversation. If the season were to end right now the Red Sox would have the second American League Wild Card spot. In other words, their first game in the postseason would be an elimination game against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium because New York has the first Wild Card spot. There is still plenty of time left in the season, so anything can happen. The Sox could stay where they are, take the number one Wild Card spot, or lose their postseason chances. The other teams that are fighting for the Wild Card spot are the Oakland Athletics and the Seattle Mariners who are three and four games behind the Red Sox respectively. In other words, it is a very close race between the Yankees, Red Sox, As, and Mariners for the Wild Card spots. The Sox have a legitimate chance at making the postseason. Personally, I am rooting for the Red Sox. As a Mets fan who despises the Yankees, the enemy of my enemy is my friend and I’d love to see the Red Sox push the Yankees out of a chance of winning the World Series. Will that happen? I don’t know, but I do know that we can watch some thrilling baseball as teams fight for postseason contention.