MLB 2016: Boston Red Sox Peaking at the Right Time, Dominating AL East

By E Sarmiento, Posted: 09/21/16 04:39AM EDT
Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 20: Jackie Bradley Jr. #25 (C), Chris Young #30, (L) and Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox celebrate after defeating the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 20, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.(Photo : Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The last time the Boston Red Sox led the AL East, they clinched the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals in a seven game series, 4-2, last 2013. They were 97-65 that season, and posted impressive win-totals at home (53-28) and on the road (44-37).

The Tampa Bay Rays, the closest team to the Red Sox, were five games behind when the regular season was done, and was tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the best record in the MLB.

Dave Dombrowski deserves a pat on the back. At the start of the season, hiring Dombrowski as the President of Baseball Operations seemed like a necessity rather than a luxury, as the Red Sox have been mired in the AL East's dungeons for three of the last five years. The only time they advanced in the playoffs was in 2013, where they led the AL East and won the ultimate pennant. It seems that the Red Sox are again aiming for postseason glory, as they pick up steam and are looking to make a splash in the playoffs.

The Red Sox are 13-5 in September, scoring six straight wins against division rivals. They are on top of the AL East this season, and are already being picked to win the AL East above their division rivals.

It's funny to think that two weeks ago, the Red Sox just stole the AL East top seed from the Toronto Blue Jays, with a 5-1 win over the San Diego Padres. The season has been a rollercoaster of sorts, with a strong offensive performance in May was followed by a lackluster June had them middling in the division, until they picked up their game in August.

The Red Sox ran differential leads the AL, and the offense has always proven lethal. However, the team wasn't really competing as a whole, with spotty pitching and oftentimes a top-heavy batting line.

September showed the emergence of a dominating batting order of David Ortiz, Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez, Jacky Bradley and Xander Bogaerts, accomplished batters who've posted 139 homers this season. The bullpen has picked up the slack, and the team is posting a 4.06 ERA, with Rick Porcello having a great year with an ERA of 3.08, and is in the conversation for the Cy Young award.

David Price is providing a second option, and being a lefty throws other teams into disarray. The defense has been stifling, always keeping the Red Sox in the ballgame. Betts, Bogaerts and Bradley are astonishing fielders, two-way players that have blossomed as the season wore on. The lineup has become a solid unit and have really locked in for the last stretch heading into the playoffs.

"It's hard to argue that we aren't,'' agreed manager John Farrell." We're clicking in a number of ways, and this time of the year, it's happening at the right time.''

When they stole the AL East lead, they've never looked back, and have now built a 4.5 game cushion against the Blue Jays, leaving other teams such as the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees scrapping for the last two wild card berths. The Red Sox it seems, are peaking at the right time, and if they follow the script they wrote in 2013, may just end up with another world title.



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