27 runs in 3 games is a pretty impressive feat. 68 runs in 10 games in the month of July is even moreso. The fact that the Sox are doing this with only 3 of the 9 players that were pegged to be starters at the beginning of the season is downright mind boggling. It hasn’t mattered who has gone down with injuries, there’s been someone who’s come up from AAA and grabbed the baton and kept running with it. Granted, there’s really no way that this level of production from what is essentially 2/3rds of a AAA roster is sustainable. For the time being, however, it’s been more than enough to keep the Sox on top of the Death Star Trash Compactor that is the AL Central.
Heading into the All Star break, the Sox currently sit 8 games ahead of the Cleveland Baseball Team with a 54-35 record and a 3rd best in the league +117 run differential. Their pitching staff ranks 1st in ALL OF BASEBALL with an accumulated 15.1 WAR (according to Fangraphs), and the offense is not far behind at 4th with 16.4 total WAR. This has all been done with one of the highest amounts of innings lost to injury in the league, with by far and away the largest amount of high-value players who’ve succumbed to stints on the IL.
It’s pretty unbelievable what this team has accomplished thus far in this season, and I have to give some credit to Tony LaRussa. Trust me, I really don’t want to but the fact that he’s pretty much let this team and locker room be itself has not been lost on me. Outside of the shit with Yermin and some interesting bullpen and lineup choices here and there he has not been the poison that I was afraid he would be, so kudos to him for that.
Also credit to Rick Hahn for making a few shrewd moves so far by signing Billy Hamilton and Brian Goodwin for a song. The cheapness of the organization as a whole and Jerry Reinsdorf in particular are never going to change, but Hahn deserves credit for the moves that work (Hamilton, Goodwin, Rodon) as much as the shitty moves that don’t (Eaton, Eaton and more Eaton). His biggest test will be over the next 3 weeks as he attempts to make some night moves to fill the holes in RF, 2B and at C until Yasmani Grandal can return from his knee surgery. The Sox also need at least 2 more bullpen arms, as Jose Ruiz and Matt Foster should not have a place on the playoff roster unless something changes in the next 2 months.
Finally, our Sweet Baby Boy Eloy has begun his rehab stint almost a month early and he’s already gone yard. Odds are we wont see him until the beginning of August at the earliest, but just having him on the horizon will be a boon to an already potent offense.
I’ll be back later in the week with some midseason grades for those lucky folk who are still on the roster and not the IL. Until then, enjoy the spectacle of the Dinger Derby and the ASG itself. Hopefully our 4 All Stars make it through unscathed, making the Sox look even better in the process. See you all soon.