It was that when the Yankees had been good (which undoubtedly isn’t the case now), not solely did it piss everybody off, as a result of YANKEES, nevertheless it was an indictment of the entire league. The Dodgers have taken that mantle for essentially the most half, however seeing both group atop the standings, previous or current, meant that that they had an unfair benefit. How might anybody compete with that checking account? The entire system must be overhauled, so the pondering went when the Yanks had been cruising to a different division, because the Dodgers are actually (although they’re not cruising for the time being).
The Purple Sox had a bit of that previously, although because the blood rival of the Yankees it by no means fairly match them. There was simply reduction that they weren’t carrying pinstripes, even when their spending energy was equal. In fact now, seeing them comfortably atop the AL East, it’s a special form of indictment. It’s not that followers world wide who usually are not Carmine-inclined would insurgent, however that house owners in all places will take a look at the Purple Sox and say, “Effectively, they traded Mookie Betts and look the way it’s going for them!” earlier than they rapidly ship out no matter star they’ve with the temerity to ask for greater than $20 every week. I assure this might be amongst Jed Hoyer/Tom Ricketts’ first paragraph subsequent week, once they deal away something that’s not nailed down at Wrigley Area.
So what are the Purple Sox doing right here? Whereas the launching of Betts won’t ever be acceptable, the furor over it did ignore that on the time the Sox had been a yr faraway from a World Sequence successful roster. A 108-game successful roster. Pretty much as good as Betts is, he clearly couldn’t do it himself. And a nexus of Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and J.D. Martinez is one that the majority groups would kill for (that’s, if most groups had been attempting). All three have a wRC+ of 140 or extra. The trio has led the Sox to the second-most runs within the AL, and fourth place in on-base proportion. Even the return for Betts, Alex Verdugo, has been consultant with out being spectacular (109 wRC+).
Bogaerts, particularly, has by some means been underneath the radar whereas being one of many league’s finest shortstops over the previous 4 or 5 seasons, although there’s a little noise in his offense to this point this yr. He’s received a .361 BABIP with no noticeable leap in his exit velocities or onerous hit charges, and all his anticipated stats are available in underneath his precise ones. However there shouldn’t be an enormous deflation if there’s one in any respect, and it received’t be sufficient to offset the entire Purple Sox ship.
Maybe the true key for the Sox isn’t that the rotation has been all that good, it’s simply been there. The Sox have solely used six starters, and even that’s form of a misnomer as a result of Tanner Houck has solely made two begins. Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, Martin Perez, Garret Richards, and Eduardo Rodriguez have taken the opposite 84. Eovaldi has been the one who’s been plus, and Rodriguez has been unfortunate (3.48 FIP vs. a 5.42 ERA), however as a result of they’ve been current it means nobody has needed to be moved out of the pen for any size of time, main the Sox to have 9 guys to have made 20 appearances or extra in reduction. We should always point out that stories point out they only would possibly get Chris Sale again earlier than too lengthy, as properly.
And that’s been the true power of the group, with six relievers which have an ERA underneath 3.00, seven guys placing out a hitter per inning or extra. They usually’ve been recent, because the Sox are solely center of the pack in innings pitched by the pen, whereas the Rays lead the league by 20 innings. Sure, the Rays do this by design, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a bonus for the Sox, particularly with Sale driving in quickly.
The Sox definitely have benefitted from the remainder of the division having main points. The Yankees can’t get out of their very own approach. Nonetheless appears a yr early for the Blue Jays. The Rays’ offense fell aside over the past month.
And the Sox have feasted on the groups they’re purported to, going 27-15 in opposition to groups at present underneath .500, whereas additionally piling up a six-straight wins over the Yankees, who would possibly as properly be underneath .500. They’re 21-17 in opposition to everybody else. However hey, there’s quite a lot of shitty groups on the market, so that you would possibly as properly beat them.
The AL has come up fairly large open, and we’re attending to the purpose of asking “Why not the Sox” as an alternative of, “Why?” Which can result in the uncomfortable picture of John Henry smirking all the way in which about buying and selling one of many recreation’s main lights and getting away with it, and each different proprietor save the Dodgers hoping to put on that smirk sooner or later themselves.
You see, Purple Sox Nation, you’ve turn into what you loathed.