As the 2018 season nears and the White Sox get ready to take on the rest of the American League, we're taking a team-by-team look at all 14 of their opponents.
What’s there to know about the Boston Red Sox?
J.D. MARTINEZ! BUH! BUH! BUH!
HE HITS HOME RUNS SO VERY FAR! SO FAR! SO FAR!
Arguably the biggest bat on this winter’s free-agent market, Martinez signed, albeit late, with the BoSox, a drastically needed addition to a lineup that ranked 27th out of 30 big league teams when it came to hitting home runs last season. Well, Martinez hit 45 of ‘em last year, so expect that ranking to improve in 2018.
Martinez has been cranking dingers for a while now, smacking 23 in 2014, 38 in 2015 and 22 in an injury-shortened 2016 before last season’s homer-explosion. He hit 16 in 57 games with the Detroit Tigers before getting dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks, hitting 29 more and helping the Snakes reach the postseason. That’s right, math fans, he hit 45 homers in just 119 games. As the Red Sox designated hitter, he’s expected to play in a few more this season.
Despite its lack of Monstah-clearing power in 2017, the BoSox lineup was still pretty good before it welcomed JDMar (gotta be a better nickname than that, right?), boasting the likes of Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and other players, not all of whom have last names that begin with the letter “B.”
And then there’s Chris Sale.
CHRIS SALE’S SO GOOD! BUH! BUH! BUH!
HE THROWS STRIKES SO VERY FAST! SO FAST! SO FAST!
Yes, the former White Sox ace just about struck out the entire universe last season and is, no joke, baseball’s all-time leader in strikeout-to-walk ratio. He finished in the top six in American league Cy Young voting for the sixth straight season last year, in the top five for the fifth straight season.
David Price was injured for much of last season and made only 11 starts, but he had just a 3.38 ERA when he was healthy enough to pitch, lowering that figure from nearly 4.00 in his first season in Boston in 2016. And Kate Upton can tweet whatever she wants, it doesn’t change the fact that Rick Porcello won the Cy Young two years ago. Past those three guys, the rest of the rotation is a walking disabled list. Drew Pomeranz, who was great last season, is questionable for the start of the season. Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez might miss the opening stretch, as well. That puts some pressure on guys like Price and Porcello to get off to good starts, Price needing to stay on the field and Porcello needing to be more 2016-y than 2017-y.
Oh, and the BoSox have perhaps baseball’s best ninth-inning man in Craig Kimbrell. He’s got 291 career saves in eight seasons! Wowzers.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE YANKEES? BUH! BUH! BUH!
THEY’VE GOT STANTON AND THE JUDGE! SO SCARED! SO SCARED!
While things seem to stack up pretty good for the folks hangin’ around on Lansdowne, those pesky Bronx Bombers are going to be pretty tough to top. Their acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton was baseball’s biggest this offseason, and that 1-2 punch of Stanton and Judge — not to mention the rest of that lineup — is as scary as it gets.
When you've got Sale, though, to throw against them? Well, that’s pretty scary, too.
2017 record: 93-69, first place in AL East, lost in ALDS
Offseason additions: J.D. Martinez
Offseason departures: Rajai Davis, Chris Young, Doug Fister, Blaine Boyer, Addison Reed
X-factor: Rafael Devers was a big-deal prospect when he got called up last season. He played in only 58 big league games with the BoSox but impressed, slashing .284/.338/.482 with 10 homers and 30 RBIs. Given a full season to do his thing, Devers ought to be a key piece of a good-looking Boston lineup.
1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Andrew Benintendi, LF
3. Hanley Ramirez, 1B
4. J.D. Martinez, DH
5. Xander Bogaerts, SS
6. Rafael Devers, 3B
7. Eduardo Nunez, 2B
8. Christian Vazquez, C
9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Dustin Pedroia could miss the start of the season due to injury.
1. Chris Sale
2. David Price
3. Rick Porcello
4. Brian Johnson
5. Hector Velazquez
Drew Pomeranz, Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright could all miss the start of the season due to injury.
Prediction: Second place in AL East, AL wild card
Catch up on the AL:
Los Angeles Angels
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox
Catch up on the NL:
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers