We're five full weeks into the 2017 Major League Baseball season and the Red Sox currently sit at 17-14, which is good for third place in the tough American League East. Following an interesting four game series at home against Baltimore, which the teams split 2-2, the Sox managed to take two out of three in Minnesota against the Twins over the weekend. After a painful walk off loss Friday night the team rebounded and scored 28 total runs over the next two games. The Red Sox now have an off day before beginning a three game set in Milwaukee on Tuesday night.
--The biggest story to come out of this weekend was manager John Farrell shaking up the line up before Saturday afternoon's game. The new top five features Mookie, Pedroia, Bogaerts, Benny, and Hanley in that order. When I first saw this I didn't love the idea of having your best player hit first. I also didn't like the idea of our number two and three hitters having little to no power. But Farrell deserves credit for this move since the offense has erupted since the change was made. I doubt this is going to be the batting order used for the rest of the season, but for now we should ride it out. After all why fix what isn't broken?
--Xander Bogaerts picked up two hits Sunday afternoon and has now hit safely in 11 straight games dating back to April 27th. During this stretch he is batting .381 with a .447 OBP. While the 24-year-old also has five extra base hits during this time he still is without a homer on the season. That's a little concerning considering it is now May 8th. Don't get me wrong, Bogaerts is still an incredibly talented hitter and an underrated defender, but unless he hits for more power he can't be considered among the game's top shortstops the way he was last year. At this point it seems extremely unlikely that Xander comes close to last season's 21 home run total.
--One of the least talked about storylines for this Red Sox team has been the development of Eduardo "Fast Eddie" Rodriguez. Eddie didn't pitch great in his first start of the year but since then he has a 2.22 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings. Unfortunately he also has 12 walks during this stretch, and I've written before about how the command is the only thing holding him back from a true breakout at this point. He's pitching in Milwaukee this week, which is a tough matchup, but I'm very high on his prospects for the rest of this season.
--Hanley Ramirez is expected to play some first base in Milwaukee this week, since the team will lose the DH. Hanley was originally supposed to play first against lefties this year, but something tells me he would rather just hit. The Sox will be in St. Louis next week and lose the DH again so I would like to see Hanley play first there too, but after that Mitch Moreland has earned everyday playing time.
--Through 31 games the Red Sox defense has committed 26 errors, fifth most in baseball. Our third basemen have combined for 12 of those errors, which is the most in the league. Obviously this is a position that the team will need to upgrade at some point this year, both offensively and defensively. It definitely hurts seeing Travis Shaw play so well for the Brewers this year. We could have used him.
--Craig Kimbrel continues to be the unsung hero of the 2017 Red Sox. For the season he has pitched 14 innings, struck out 26, walked just two, and has a 1.29 ERA. He legitimately may be the best relief pitcher in baseball right now.
--Assuming he avoids any setbacks David Price is likely to rejoin the rotation on May 29th or 30th against the White Sox. With Steven Wright going down for the year Price will obviously take over for Kyle Kendrick. It will be great getting Price back but after our top five starters the Sox have absolutely nothing resembling rotation depth. We can't afford a long term injury to any of these guys.
--The Red Sox don't play the Orioles again until a four game series in Baltimore from June 1st-4th. I expect we haven't seen the end of the drama between these two this year.