MLB Boston Red Sox

5 Boston Red Sox Players That Need To Step Up Down The Stretch

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5 Players the Boston Red Sox Need To Step Up Down The Stretch

Fenway Park
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Going into Sunday, the Boston Red Sox have exactly 50 games left to play this season. They currently sit on top of the AL East, a game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays, but are even with the Rays in the loss column with two games in hand.

The Baltimore Orioles are just 5.5 games back and with the pitching acquisitions they made at the trade deadline, they are well within striking distance.

With the final stretch here, the Red Sox will require guys to step up, get healthy, heat back up, stay hot and make great first impressions if the team wants to win the division and make a run for the World Series.

There are some potential difference-makers sitting in the minor leagues that could help the Red Sox this year. Some may get the call-up prior to the September 1 roster expansion to make them eligible for the playoffs.

There are definitely some guys that will get a look at different roles in the bullpen, but none of those make this list. Rubby De La Rosa was recently called back up, and could very well have a Francisco Rodriguez-like effect from his 2001 Anaheim Angels World Series championship team. Drake Britton and Brandon Workman will also get some action in the bullpen and could make a playoff roster.

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Jake Peavy

Jake Peavy
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Peavy had a successful debut for the Boston Red Sox on Saturday, and the Red Sox hope it is the first of many quality starts to come. Peavy will be an inning-eater and is the type of guy who really steps up in big games. He impact the playoffs, and it is all but a guarantee that he will win a big game or two against the teams trying to catch the Red Sox in the standings.

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Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Xander Bogaerts is a future superstar. He is a true five-tool player. He is a natural shortstop that might move to third base this year because the team has an established guy at short already and need a third baseman. Sound familiar? Yes, Bogaerts will be this year’s Manny Machado, and it will be something to watch.

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Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If the Boston Red Sox are going to make a World Series run, they will need an ace. Clay Buchholz is that type of guy when healthy, but he hasn’t been healthy since the start of June. He is currently targeting a return at the end of August, and the Red Sox are hoping that comes to fruition.

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Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Dustin Pedroia is the gritty captain of the Boston Red Sox, but has been in a month-long slump. He has hit just .206 since the first of July, and it was around that time that he inked an extension that almost ensures that he will be a member of the Red Sox for life. Often people would point to motivation in a post-deal slump, but that is far from the case as he accepted a deal below market value and nobody can question Pedroia’s motivation. He will break out of the slump, and the Red Sox need him to if they are going to make a long playoff run.

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Daniel Nava

Daniel Nava
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Nava is having himself a breakout season. He has played four positions and has become a staple in the Boston Red Sox lineup. He is setting career-highs in every category and has played in 96 of 112 games, despite the opening the season without a clear shot to playing time. He has been a pleasant surprise, and is the guy Red Sox fans want up when the game is on the line — and that is saying a lot when you're talking about a lineup that includes David Ortiz.