Red Sox offense entering into another kind of conversation

Rob Bradford
July 26, 2019 - 8:25 am

Sometimes it takes a little nudge to get the conversation going.

Take, for instance, scoring 19 runs against the Yankees.

How about forcing a third team to pitch a position player in less than a week?

Or maybe it's giving one pitcher a historic amount of run support.

However we got here, the idea that the Red Sox' offense is next-level has officially been surfaced. Sure, some might suggest it is still underrated. A glimpse at the standings will do that.

"I don’t mind if it is," noted Xander Bogaerts. "I don’t think we want to be talking much about that. I think we need to be focusing on more winning. I check the standings every day, seeing what the other teams did and obviously when you lose it’s kind of a tough pill to swallow. And when you win and they lose it’s a good feeling. It sucks to be in that type of position but I mean it’s in the one that we’re in."

Still, this is getting tough to ignore.

They have scored more runs than any team in baseball while carrying the top batting average and on-base percentage, with only the Twins managing more extra-base hits.

The No. 2 and 3 hitters in the lineup -- Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts -- are trending toward Top 3 MVP finishes.

And the reality that might hit home the most is when comparing what they have now to the group that made last season's World Series run. Batting average? OPS? Home runs? Runs? Through 104 games, all are better this time around.

"It does. It does," said Bogaerts when asked if this offense felt like the championship group of a year ago. "Obviously you have guys like Mookie and J.D. (Martinez), they’re heating up at the right time. They’re going to do stuff they’ve done their whole careers. I think (Christian)Vazquez is coming up big this year. Devers. Jackie (Bradley) got hot. Having Mitch (Moreland) back is big. (Andrew) Benintendi is heating up now. It’s a good time for everyone to be contributing because if we can keep it up for two months I think we’ll be in really good shape, which is hard to do."

Everyone talks about the Yankees' bats. Now, especially after Thursday night, the discussion might be changing.

"We know what kind of offense they have and they know what kind of offense we have," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "So early on in our hitters' meeting, we were talking about our gameplan and all of that and somebody said that if we do that, it’s going to be a long night. And one of the guys said it’s going to be a long night regardless. We’re ready for a long weekend. We know that."

Added the manager, "I mean, there’s going to be games that Charlie Morton is going to pitch (like Wednesday afternoon's loss). There’s going to be games like Sunday with the cutter/slider, it’s going to happen, that’s baseball. On a consistent basis, we feel that we can go toe to toe with whoever, other offenses. We’re leading the big leagues in runs scored and for two months we were talking about how inconsistent we were but we feel good about it. I don’t know if the numbers are going to back me up, but with men in scoring position, we’ve been a lot better for a month and a half."

Sure enough, since July 1 the Red Sox have the best batting average in the majors (by far) with runners in scoring position (.348), while also the second-best OPS (only behind the Pirates).

As we said, the discussion is -- and should be -- a bit different. And for the Red Sox it couldn't come at a better time.