August feels promising for Red Sox
August started off on a historic note for the Red Sox. Christian Vazquez’s walk-off knock against the Cleveland Indians on the first day of the month made it the second season in Red Sox history that two catchers platted walk-off hits. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the first time was in 1995 with Mike Macfarlane and Bill Haselman, who is now a manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City.
Winning that game on the first day of August despite being down four runs — the largest deficit they came back from this season — signals a turning of fortunes for the Red Sox. July was clearly Boston’s worst month of the season, which saw the Sox fall out of first place of the American League East after being on top since April.
Now it’s a two-horse race with the New York Yankees for the top from here on out. Both teams have made their moves before the trade deadline. The Yankees captured the headlines with the additions of third baseman Todd Frazier, starting pitcher Sonny Gray and reliever Daniel Robertson. Boston’s addition of infielder Eduardo Nunez and reliever Addison Reed pale in comparison, but fill important holes for the Sox.
The addition of Nunez has paid instant dividends. Since his arrival from San Francisco, Nunez has hit .500 (11-for-22) with two home runs and 9 RBI in his first five games. While originally seen as an underwhelming move, Nunez provides infield depth and a .300 bat to the Boston lineup.
Which is crucial for the Sox considering that second baseman Dustin Pedroia was recently placed on the 10-day Disabled List. During the month of July, Pedroia was the leader of pack in nearly every major hitting statistical category.
The pitching has kept the Red Sox in playoff contention all season. Their 3.75 ERA is the lowest in the American League. It’s their lowest since 2002 and should they keep up the pace the rest of the way, it would be the first season the Sox led the league in ERA since their 2007 World Series winning season.
The Red Sox recently called up their top prospect after failing to find a suitable rental at third base, which has been a glaring hole all season long. Rafael Devers has reached base in each of his first seven career games. If he can replicate a career start similar to Xander Bogarts in 2013, then 2017 still has a chance to be a special season.