When you’ve already won the division (for the third straight year), clinched home-field advantage for the entire postseason, gained sole possession of the best record in baseball, and set a new franchise single-season wins record, there’s not much to do the last week of the regular season. So while Cora focuses on his postseason roster, it’s a chance for the players to focus on padding their personal stats. And no players deserve to shine individually more than these guys, who have played incredible baseball as a team all season.
Yesterday, Game 1 of a doubleheader against Baltimore, was an absolute blowout. The Sox had a season-high 22 hits, including nine doubles by different players, and five home runs, two of which were hit by Rafael Devers. Fourteen of their hits were extra-base, something that has only been achieved three times in American League history, and hasn’t happened since 1996. Suffice to say, it was a pretty fun game.
But amidst the absolute bird massacre, a few of our superstars achieved some pretty amazing season and career goals…
An incredible season, an incredible month, an incredible week. Things just keep coming up Mookie, and yesterday was one of the most momentous games of them all. He became the 40th player in MLB history, and just the second player (after Jacoby Ellsbury in 2011) in franchise history to have a 30-30 season, stealing his 30th base. He already has a new career-high 32 homers, three of which have come in his last five games. Oh, and I’m pretty sure he’s led the league in batting average for the entire season. It’s no wonder you hear ‘MVP’ chants at every ballpark he visits this year.
Boston’s big bat acquisition has paid off more than we ever could have dreamed. In his first Sox season, JD has been right next to Mookie atop the MLB leaderboards. His 127 RBIs are the most in MLB, and yesterday, his 42nd home run of the season tied Dick Stuart’s 1963 record for most by a Sox player in their first season with the club. That’s right: JD Martinez hit more homers in his first season than Manny, Papi, even Teddy Ballgame.
A career-high 6-RBI game for Devers, including a 3-run double and two home runs. The second was his 20th of the season, making him the first Sox player 22 or younger to hit 20 in a single season since Tony C in 1966. His second homer of the game was one of the longest of the season, going 447 ft.
I’ve been saying all season that on any other team, Xander would be the star. Three of the team’s 9 grand slams belong to X, which is even more impressive when you remember that the team didn’t have a single salami in 2017. But behind Mookie and JD, the X-Man doesn’t always get the recognition his talent deserves. Beginning with a two-run double in the first, Bogey had a 4-RBI game yesterday. He capped it with a 2-run homer to reach 100 RBIs for the first time in his career! He’s also been a magnificent shortstop all season, the first Sox shortstop since Nomar (and 6th ever) to drive in 100 runs in a single season.
All in all, a pretty great day for our boys. What a thrill it’s been to see them achieve new heights, individually, and together.
Photo: Getty Images