By Justin Patrick @calling_allfans on May 23, 2014
The defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox are in the midst of a horrible stretch—they got swept in six straight homes and they have lost seven games in a row. Boston is currently in fourth place in the AL East with a record of 20-26 and five games behind the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays. There is still plenty of time for Boston to right the ship. Who are the Red Sox’ five most irreplaceable players if they hope to turn it around?
Bogaerts is young and extremely talented. He is hitting .282 in 156 at bats this season. Third baseman Will Middlebrooks was placed on the DL with a fractured right index finger. The Red Sox then re-signed SS Stephen Drew to a prorated .1 million deal. Drew will end up back at SS, and Bogaerts will play third base. Bogaerts does have six errors this season at SS, but he is young and too talented overall to be replaceable at this point.
Lester is not having a great season, record wise, since he is 4-6. He does have six quality starts in the 10 games he has started and he has a 3.36 ERA. Clay Buchholz can be outstanding when he is healthy, although he is struggling this season with a 2-4 record and 6.32 ERA, but Lester is the ace of the Red Sox’ staff. The Red Sox need Lester to continue to produce quality starts throughout the season and into (hopefully) the postseason.
Koji was instrumental in the Red Sox winning the World Series last season, and he is one of the best closers in baseball. He’s only appeared in 18 games this season due to the Red Sox not winning enough, but he is 9-for-9 in save opportunities. Koji has a 1.02 ERA and has allowed two earned runs in 17.2 innings.
Everyone knows Big Papi’s speech post-Boston Marathon bombing. Then there was his dugout speech during Game 4 of the World Series last season. Ortiz has had so many clutch hits for the Sox it’s unbelievable; plus he was other-worldly during the postseason last year. In 167 at bats this season, Ortiz is hitting .275 with 11 HRs. Ortiz is a leader of the Red Sox (along with the guy at No. 1). The Red Sox wouldn't be the same without Papi.
Not only is Pedey the best second baseman in baseball (sorry Robinson Cano, you’re amazing, but Pedroia is the best), he is (along with Ortiz) the leader of the Red Sox. Pedroia is hitting .277 this season in 191 at bats with 14 RBIs and has only one error in the field. Boston wisely locked up Pedey to a long-term deal, and the Red Sox are simply better with him on the roster and in the lineup.
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