Recap of memorable Red Sox year: Stars heat up in May
This week we'll take a month-by-month look at the Sox: Their record, where they stood in the standings at the end of the month, and the highlights. We looked at March/April on Tuesday and now we move to May.
After a historic start in April the Sox came back down to Earth, although they still played .620 ball and held onto the best record in the majors. Boston won seven of its nine series in May, but the Yankees were hot and stayed on the Sox' heels.
RECORD: 18-11 (39-18 overall)
POSITION IN AL EAST ON MAY 31: First
LEAD: Two games over Yankees
PICTURED: Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt celebrated a 6-4 win over the Blue Jays on May 30. (AP Photo)
May was Joe Kelly's most dominant month of the season. He went 3-0 with a 0.63 ERA while striking out 17 batters in 14 1/3 innings. Pictured: Kelly gets fired up after striking out Jurickson Profar with the bases loaded in the eighth inning on May 5 (AP Photo) against the Rangers. He struck out both batters he faced and got the win as the Sox came from behind to win 6-5. They took three out of four that weekend in Texas.
May 5 also marked a historic night for closer Craig Kimbrel (Pictured, AP Photo). Boston's ninth-inning man recorded his 300th save faster than any pitcher in MLB history. It came in his 494th career appearance, his 330th save opportunity (giving him a 91percent save-conversion rate), and three weeks before his 30th birthday. He was faster to the milestone than any other reliever in terms of appearances, save opportunities, and age.
J.D. Martinez slugged 13 home runs in the month, demonstrating to Red Sox fans exactly why he's worth $110 millon. Boston's first real slugger since David Ortiz retired, Martinez connected on two home runs on May 20 (The second is pictured, AP Photo) in a win against the Orioles.
K's ON SALE
Chris Sale really started to dial it in as the weather began to heat up. He went 3-1 over six starts in May, totaling 59 strikeouts in 40 innings pitched. On May 22 against the Rays, Sale went 7 2/3 innings, allowing just one run and striking out nine (pictured, AP Photo). In addition to his wipeout slider, Sale consistantly was in the high 90s with his fastball velocity, even hitting triple digits on occasion.