Xander Bogaerts on OMF explains why Red Sox shouldn't be considered underdogs

Scott McLaughlin
July 10, 2020 - 3:35 pm

The common view of the Red Sox this season is that, after missing the playoffs last year, trading away Mookie Betts and David Price, and losing Chris Sale to Tommy John surgery, not much should be expected.

Perhaps there could be some reason for optimism given the shortened season. Any team can get hot for 60 games, so a couple "underdog" runs to the playoffs wouldn't be surprising.

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But at least one Red Sox player rejects the idea that they should even be considered underdogs. Appearing on Ordway, Merloni and Fauria Friday, shortstop Xander Bogaerts expanded on a comment he made a couple days ago and explained why he has higher expectations for this season. (Listen to the full interview here.)

"Come on, man. If you look at our roster, the way that it’s built, obviously we’re not kind of destined to be last place," Bogaerts said. "Obviously we’re a pretty talented team from top to bottom. Obviously we can be much better in the pitching area. We’re not loaded like the Tampa Bay Rays, but there aren’t a lot of teams that are loaded like that.

"It’s really tough to have everything. A team that has both, that’s obviously going to be an advantage for you as an organization. We have guys that always step up. We have a couple guys that have been on the DL now, so hopefully we can get them back, like Eddie Rodriguez. Hopefully we can get him back in camp. We’re missing a couple other key guys to our pitching staff. Hopefully we can stay safe, and once we get those guys back we’ll get ready to roll."

Bogaerts' optimism at least from an offensive perspective isn't unfounded. While Betts is obviously a big loss, the Red Sox could drop a little from their 5.56 runs per game last season and still be a good offensive team. They still have one of the most intimidating heart of the orders in baseball with Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez.

But even in building his team up, Bogaerts couldn't help but hit on the elephant in the room: the pitching. The Sox need Rodriguez to get healthy quickly, they need Nathan Eovaldi to have a bounce-back season, and then they need a bunch of question marks after that to step up and turn into answers.

Related: Nathan Eovaldi on GHS explains toughest challenges for MLB players as season begins