The Boston Red Sox recently clinched the AL East title after back-to-back disappointing seasons. The team had a dynamic offense all year long, which was aided by the rise of several young stars and the epic farewell season of David Ortiz. Their success in the postseason will largely depend on their ability to continue scoring, but the Sox will also need clutch pitching — particularly from David Price — if they hope to secure a title.
The Red Sox had an 11-game winning streak towards the end of September, which is indicative of how far the team has progressed this season. Hanley Ramirez has become a productive heavy hitter, while Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. have all stepped up in a major way. The Sox hope to continue their offensive success throughout the playoffs. David Ortiz’s veteran presence will help quell the nerves of young stars, and will help ensure that the team chemistry is not diminished due to the pressure.
Another major question is whether the pitchers will be able to handle the playoff atmosphere. Rick Porcello has had a tremendous season on the mound, and unless his confidence becomes an issue, there is little reason to expect that his performance would become worse in the postseason. David Price bounced back from a poor first-half, and is now playing well enough to be considered an important signing for Boston. However, Price has never been a particularly clutch pitcher in the playoffs. This is a significant concern for Boston — especially since the team is in a large market with immense pressure.
Despite a significant level of competition, the Red Sox should have a deep playoff run. Ultimately, if Boston’s rotation can thrive under pressure, the Red Sox may be able to repeat their 2013 run. The idea of a World Series win during David Ortiz’s farewell season seems like a fantasy, but with the way the team is playing, the Red Sox may be able to pull it off.