With roughly a month left in the regular season it’s getting close to crunch time for the Red Sox, who are in the thick of both the American League East and the American League Wild Card races. Both races are highly contested, with multiple teams involved, which means every game counts down the stretch.
Here are three players the Red Sox need to come up big in the final six weeks of the season.
There is no question Price has been much better recently than he was to start the year, as after his outstanding performance against the Rays Monday night, his ERA is now exactly at 4.00, the lowest it has been since Opening Day. The Red Sox need Price to keep pitching like he has been of late – winning three straight starts after not winning once in his first five to open the second half of the year. The Red Sox signed Price to a $30 million deal in the offseason and now is the time where he can prove to everyone exactly why he’s worth so much.
The Red Sox bullpen is by far the weakest part of the roster at this point in time and there doesn’t appear to be much relief in sight as Jonathan Papelbon likely isn’t coming to Boston. Junichi Tazawa appears worn down and Brad Ziegler is almost 40-years-old and can’t pitch almost every day. The guy who needs to step up most is Barnes, who has been given higher leverage situations of late, but hasn’t been able to deliver. If he can put things together like he’s shown he’s capable of in the past, he could be a very valuable pitcher in getting to Craig Kimbrel for the ninth.
It’s been an up-and-down type of season for Ramirez, but fortunately for the Red Sox right now is one of his most impressive stretches. Going into play Tuesday, in the last two weeks Ramirez is hitting .368/.405/.658 with 15 RBIs. With David Ortiz and Mookie Betts being two of the best hitters in baseball, if Ramirez can hit like he has, the Red Sox will have by far the most dangerous middle of the order in baseball. Perhaps no other player on the Red Sox is more important to the offense than Ramirez because when he hits, he makes the entire lineup both better and deeper.