Friday, June 7, 2024

Raf Riot


The cartoon logic of the Red Sox waiting for Yankees to get injured and seeing two more of their own guys wind up on the IL astounds me.

Like, it's looking like Juan Soto will be able to avoid a IL stint, yet two more Red Sox have gotten injured in the last week. One, Wilyer Abreu, was in the midst of an impressive rookie season with great defensive outfield numbers. The other, Chris Martin, became the umpteenth player in the last few years to cite anxiety as a reason for missing time. In the last year alone we've seen Daniel Bard, Austin Meadows and now Martin do this, and I don't think the MLB's mental health initiative is really doing anything to stop this. I feel for Martin, I really do, and as someone with tremendous anxiety I wish he finds clarity at some point. But it just comes at a bad time for the Sox, who've already lost enough guys to injury. If they didn't have to play the White Sox this week they'd be in dangerous territory.

The Sox thankfully do have a large portion of strong assets still healthy and surging. Kutter Crawford, Tanner Houck, Nick Pivetta, Brayan Bello and Cooper Criswell are all active and having good seasons. Bello is clearly not as consistent as he was last year but he's still 6-2. The bullpen is still very strong, and Brennan Bernardino and Justin Slaten are great set-up options for Kenley Jansen, who has 9 saves and is still good at his job.

And more importantly...this Red Sox team still has Rafael Devers on it. Devers has been very hot recently, and just had a 2-homer day this week. He's hitting .287 with 13 homers and 32 RBIs, leading the team in the last two. He's also got a .947 OPS, which is pretty insane. Devers, at 27, already has a career 20.8 WAR, and this is even before he reaches what is commonly the peak period for MLB players. Devers, despite being the baby of the team when I caught a game at Fenway all those years ago, is now the longest tenured Red Sox player, and the center of the lineup. I'm glad he's still a reliable player, and an incredible hitter, after all this time. The Sox at least have developed people like Jarren Duran, Connor Wong and now David Hamilton to assist him, but he's just as reliable as he was back in the late 2010s.

The Sox remaining a steady third in the AL West despite teetering around .500 says as much about them rising above expectations and out-itching competitors as it does about the Rays and Blue Jays' struggles. Regardless of injuries and inexperience, the Sox are better than they were in years past, and they're probably better than the Rays or Jays. Whether they can make this work long term is another thing entirely, but they've proven more than a lot of people would have thought by this point in the season.

Coming Tomorrow- There's a guy I knew from high school who always acted like he had the biggest silver spoon up his ass, and he decided that the way to fix his reputation would be to move to London, as if that would make us all forget how terrible he was. Anyway, a guy who plays on the Mets.

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