The Red Sox are in first place today thanks to the outstanding play of their three outfielders, Mitch Moreland on offense and defense and the ace of the staff, Chris Sale, who has been what an ace should be. Lately Drew Pomeranz has pitched extremely well and the Sox bullpen, with Kelly, Scott, Barnes, and Hembree is doing a terrific job. Craig Kimbrel has been almost unhittable as the closer featuring a blazing fastball and a curve ball that has buckled the knees of more than a few right-handed hitters. Dustin Pedroia has been consistent the first half both in the field and at the plate which is no surprise to anyone. Those performances coupled with major tailspins by the Yankees, Baltimore, and Toronto, place the Sox are where they were predicted to be before the season even started: First Place.
With the aforementioned players doing such a great job for the team, there are two, in my opinion, that have not gotten the credit they deserve. One is shortstop Xander Bogaerts and the other is catcher Christian Vazquez. We all know that Bogaerts is a terrific hitter but he’s been criticized for not hitting more home runs this season. Put this in your brain, he is not a home run hitter. He does not have a home run hitting swing. He has some power but is best when he hits to all fields and gets on base. Quietly, he’s done a real good job at shortstop. He and Pedroia are an outstanding duo on double plays. They are also the offensive catalysts on this team. They’re both tough outs and get on base often.
As for Christian Vazquez, he’s an outstanding receiver who blocks most pitches in the dirt and has a howitzer for an arm. He has also become a leader defensively and he just looks confident out on the field. His hitting has been better this year especially when he goes up the middle and to right field.
Let’s give some more credit to these two players. They’ve both helped this ball club climb into first place and they play, arguably, the two most important positions on the field.
Feature Photos Courtesy of Boston Globe