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Red Sox Report Card - April 2018

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Well now – that’s a hell of a way to start the season.

The Boston Red Sox just had the best April in the team’s history, winning a record 19 games in April (along with two out of three in March). After this red-hot opening month, the team sits atop the American League East with a 21-7 record.

New manager Alex Cora has clearly reached this team in a way that the departed John Farrell never quite managed toward the end of his tenure. That new energy seems to have contributed to the big start (though we’ll see how everyone is feeling come the Fourth of July – or even Memorial Day).

There are a few players struggling, but overall, the team has performed as well as their record indicates. We’ll just see if they can keep it up.

On to the Report Card.

Hitting – A

Offensively, it’s hard to get off to a better start than the Red Sox have. They’re tops in the league in batting average and second in runs scored, on-base percentage and slugging. They still aren’t hitting a ton of homers, although middle-of-the-pack beats dead last. Mookie Betts looks like an MVP candidate again and free agent pickup J.D. Martinez has been swinging a big bat. Xander Bogaerts was hurt for a good part of the month, but he started hot and picked up where he left off upon coming back. Hanley Ramirez has looked rejuvenated as well. However, guys like Rafael Devers and Andrew Benintendi have definitely regressed a bit at the plate, while Jackie Bradley Jr. has been brutal with the bat. Still, the holes in the lineup are relatively minor when the guys at the top rake like this.

Starting Pitching – A-

This grade might be a touch inflated, but it’s difficult to mark down a group that includes two guys who have been fantastic thus far. We all knew Chris Sale would be the ace – in six starts, he’s got an ERA of 2.31, a WHIP under one and 45 strikeouts in 35 innings. And yet … Rick Porcello has been better. He’s 4-0 with a 2.23 ERA, a WHIP of 0.84 (which is stunning) and nearly a strikeout an inning. He’s walked four guys in 40 innings. David Price has been basically OK, but hasn’t really done anything eye-opening. Eduardo Rodriguez has seen his share of struggles, but despite his ERA approaching five, he’s 3-0 and has 29 Ks in 26 innings. There are signs. The less said about Drew Pomeranz’s April, the better. But hey – top-heavy is OK when the top is this heavy.

Bullpen – A-

This is a group that has greatly outperformed expectations through the season’s first month. Well, not everybody … Craig Kimbrel has done exactly what we thought he would, which is dominate. The closer was lights-out in April. He converted seven out of seven saves, giving up a single run in a dozen innings. He struck out 15 and allowed less than a baserunner an inning. He’s not alone – Hector Velazquez had a great April both in the pen and in a couple of spot starts. Bobby Poyner, Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly have put together good performances as well. However, there are a couple of guys who have struggled. Marcus Walden has been pretty bad and Carson Smith has been considerably worse than that. Still, a few scuffling apples won’t spoil the month this bunch had.

Defense – A-

This is a grade that the team almost certainly won’t be receiving as we move forward through the season, but there’s no denying that they earned it this April. The Red Sox have proven to be a skilled defensive squad thus far. The outfield is no surprise – the regular trio of Betts, Benintendi and Bradley is as elite a defensive group as there is in MLB. Those three can straight up go and get it. But the infield has been – Bogaerts has stepped his game up, while Eduardo Nunez has left his offensive struggles in the dugout when he picks up the glove. Mitch Moreland has been good at first and Hanley Ramirez has been not terrible. The wild card is Devers, who has tremendous defensive potential at third, but has so far been really erratic. As a group, though? Strong.

Last modified on Tuesday, 01 May 2018 20:33

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