Monday, July 10, 2017

At The Break: 2017 Red Sox, Thy Name Is 'Inconsistency'

At The All-Star Break
Their offense has been—from one day to the next—on fire and worthy of being fired. Their bullpen has been—from one day to the next—untouchable and unwatchable. Their starting rotation has been—from one day to the next—Cy-Young-worthy and late-career Matt Young-worthy. Their bench has been—from one day to the next—non-existent to being populated by mini-stars like Deven Marrero and Tzu-Wei "Freddy" Lin. In a word, the 2017 Red Sox have been inconsistent. Despite all of that, they remain—somehow—at the top of the AL East (albeit by just 3.5 games). But, looking at the larger picture, there is room for a lot of optimism in the second half. For example, despite devastating injuries to two key bullpen arms (Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg), the relievers have been—on balance—a plus. Mookie Betts is on pace for 30 HRs and over 100 RBIs again this year. Xander Bogaerts is starting to find the power stroke to go along with his plus .300 batting average. Mitch Moreland is having a solid two-way year at first base. Dustin Pedroia seems rejuvenated. Andrew Benintendi won't be the Rookie of The Year, but he will have a solid first season at bat and in the field. Christian Vazquez seems more and more comfortable behind the plate. Jackie Bradley, Jr. is quietly having another terrific season—calming fears of a 'one-off' offensive year in 2016. And, of course, we are getting other-worldly performances from Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel. There is a lot of talent on this team. If they can somehow muster a consistent string of victories early in the second half, they could run away and hide with the division. On the other hand, continued inconsistencies could spell October golf. It could go either way.