2018 Red Sox regular season superlatives
The Boston Red Sox had a historic regular season, winning a franchise-record 108 games. They have two AL MVP candidates, but there are plenty of awards to go around for this team. Let's hand out the Red Sox 2018 season superlatives.
Chris Sale’s second-half bursitis and ensuing absences took him out of the actual Cy Young race, but there’s no question the lefty was the best the Red Sox had on the mound. David Price hit his groove, but Sale’s overall body of work was remarkable: 13.5 strikeouts and 1.94 walks per nine innings with a 2.11 ERA in 158 innings, spanning 27 starts. We were left wanting more.
Most Valuable Player
Mookie Betts’ 2018 season has a direct tie to J.D. Martinez’s influence. Not just Martinez’s presence in the lineup, but the knowledge and approach. Betts put together the first 30-30 season with an average of above .340 by a player who didn’t call Coors Field home, and he probably doesn’t perform quite like this without Martinez. But at the end of the day, the performance is Betts’ and no one else's, he deserves the acknowledgment.
Rookie of the Year
Ryan Brasier turned 31 years old in August. He last pitched in the majors in 2013 prior to this season. And his rookie status was still intact. The righty emerged as a reliable late-inning pitcher, with 29 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings and just seven walks allowed. His 1.60 ERA was second best in the majors among rookie relievers who threw at least 30 innings, behind only Taylor Cole of the Angels.
The four-game sweep of the Yankees, and namely, the fourth game on Aug. 5 proved a separator. A 5-4 Sox win took 10 innings, finished about 20 minutes shy of 1 a.m. and required four Sox runs over the final two frames. The AL East lead reached 9 1/2 games with 48 games to play. The Yanks showed a little life as the season progressed, narrowing the lead to six games after play Aug. 26, but the division race never produced real excitement after early August.
J.D. Martinez Award winner
Best hitter? Best free agent-pick up? Best tutor? Best coach in uniform? You could give J.D. Martinez a lot of awards. So just give him one in his own in his name. He deserves a lot, even if it’s not MVP.
(And you’re not crazy if you think he’s the MVP. You’re wrong, but not crazy.)