The long-awaited battle with the New York Yankees in the ALDS is near, but the series may be greatly impacted by a few key Red Sox players.
For the first time since the legendary 2004 season, the Boston Red Sox and the Bronx Bombers will meet in a postseason battle. It truly has been a long time coming and fans everywhere are heavily anticipating a series between two of the giants of the American League.
Despite the amount of build up that the series is getting, it may be decided by a few unheralded members of the Boston Red Sox.
1B: Steve Pearce
Pearce was largely disregarded upon being acquired by the Red Sox this season. A platoon first baseman hardly seemed like a need at the time, but he made an immediate impact on the club and gained a reputation as a Yankee killer.
Perhaps the night that he launched three homeruns at Fenway solidified that title; however the Red Sox will need Pearce to regain the magic in October. At large, J.A. Happ has had success against the current Sox lineup – with the exception of Pearce. The former-Yankee is hitting .344 with 6 homeruns and 16 RBI’s throughout his career off of Happ.
The Yankees recently announced that Happ would start Game 1 of the ALDS and it would be very likely to see Steve Pearce penciled in at first base to begin the postseason.
IF: Brock Holt
Throughout the season, Holt has emerged as a spark plug for the Red Sox. After only being a season removed from a battle with vertigo and a .200 season batting average, the utility player has captured the fan base with his late-inning heroics and charming personality.
It’s quite clear that Brock won’t be in the starting lineup, but he’s posted a .500 batting average as a pinch hitter this season. Every team needs an electrifying player off the bench and time-and-time again, Holt has proven to be that player.
Not only is the BrockStar a fan-favorite, but he may be a major key to the Red Sox success this postseason.
RP: Ryan Brasier
It’s hard not to root for a guy that was buried on a depth chart in Japan just last season. Brasier has gone from relative obscurity to a vital member of the Red Sox bullpen in a matter of months. The journeyman reliever has posted a 1.60 ERA this season across 34 outings and has emerged as a bridge to closer, Craig Kimbrel.
Additionally, it’s no secret that the Sox bullpen will be a point of emphasis for opposing teams. The Boston ‘pen doesn’t have the same weapons that opponents such as the Houston Astros, or New York Yankees, but do possess enough fire power to get the job done – and Ryan Brasier will be a large part of any success.
In many cases, Kimbrel has proven that he struggles when he needs to get more than three outs which will leave Alex Cora relying heavily on other relievers. It would be very likely that the outcome of a particular game rests on the shoulders of Brasier.
It would be foolish to think that J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, and Chris Sale won’t leave their mark on the upcoming series; however it’s always enjoyable to highlight a few lesser players that will make a huge impact.
Buckle up Red Sox fans, it’s going to be a wild ride in October.