Yes, the Red Sox scored ten runs tonight. Yes, the Red Sox are in first place and 4.5 games ahead of the competition. Yes, they beat the Yankees. No, the way they’re playing is not sustainable.
With a good fraction of the team underperforming, the Red Sox are getting by on the exceptional performances of a few players. This isn’t a new concept, by any means. How many games were won on the back of Big Papi? I can’t count that high. Aaron Judge absolutely left his teammates in the dust before the All-Star break. Some players are just better than others. But when you have a team of young, capable players who have the ability to play very well and done so, but currently are not, you have to ask, “what’s the deal?”
Xander Bogaerts went hitless in four at-bats tonight. After missing a few games last week due to oblique tightness, our supposed Ortiz-successor Hanley Ramirez had a 2-run homer last night and then went 1-5 and did absolutely nothing today. Rafael Devers has been great, but at twenty years old, he’s a baby rookie, untested in the postseason, fresh meat in the center of an MLB of circling sharks looking to figure him out. Eduardo Nuñez has also been pretty clutch, with 4 HR and 12 RBIs since joining the team at the end of July, but he might be a total David Price in the postseason. And with Dustin Pedroia on the DL again, 2nd base is vulnerable. I’ve felt weird about this team since Opening Day, and I’m not confident about this team going into the pennant race.
To those of you optimists who say, “the Sox won today” and “Benintendi had two 3-run homers and 6 RBIs,” I say, get real. I can name on one hand the players in recent MLB history who are clutch enough to have a game like Benny on the regular, and unfortunately for us, David Ortiz is off playing golf and doing swim aerobics in John Hancock commercials. Don’t forget, Benintendi is a rookie himself; this is his first full Major League season, and he was floundering recently; we can’t count on him alone to pick up the slack every game.
I’ve said it for months, probably years, at this point: the Red Sox need consistent, reliable players. Mitch ‘2-Bags’ Moreland has had 50 RBIs and 25 doubles this year, including one today. Aside from when he played with a broken toe in July, he’s been reliable. Drew Pomeranz pitched very well tonight, picking up his twelfth win of the season. The talent is there, but something is missing. And I’m sick of the Red Sox overpaying for a clubhouse of players who can’t perform consistently or in the clutch. This young team needs a game plan, because this will-they-or-won’t-they model definitely won’t work in the postseason.
I, for one, won’t feel like “Win, Dance, Repeat”-ing until we’re holding that trophy.