Entering play Thursday, the Red Sox have had 20 disabled list stints for 17 players this year, ultimately leading to 633 games missed. Without making a major trade to fill the voids, one would expect the team to scuffle.
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That hasn’t been the case as the Red Sox lead the AL East and have the best record in the entire American League. This is due in large part because of contributions from players coming up from Pawtucket including Jose Iglesias, Jackie Bradley Jr., and more recently Brandon Workman, Drake Britton, Brock Holt, Brandon Snyder, among others.
“It speaks to the depth in the organization and the strength of our scouting and development stuff,” said catcher Ryan Lavarnway, who has been with the team since mid-June filling in for the injured David Ross. “You have to give them a lot of credit for picking the right guys and helping them grow into big league players. These guys come up and are ready to produce and help us win everyday.”
A perfect example of players coming up and filling voids has been at third base. With Will Middlebrooks down in Pawtucket trying to get his consistency back, and then Jose Iglesias being dealt to Detroit, along with waiting for Xander Bogaerts to be ready for big league action, the Sox have turned to Holt and Snyder.
Following Wednesday’s win in Houston, Holt is hitting .235 with 10 RBIs in just 16 games, while Snyder is hitting .220 with seven home runs in 20 games, but has done a considerable amount of damage against left-handed pitching, hitting .321, including all of his nine hits. Their averages go right along with the average for the year among Red Sox third baseman of .235.
It is a bit different going from playing everyday in the minors to not as much consistent time in the big leagues, but the players have been able to adjust.
“It’s definitely different, but any opportunity [we are] given [we are] trying to take full advantage of it to help us win,” Lavarnway said. “We saw two years ago how one win can really make the difference, so we go out there everyday and battle hard.”
Workman and Britton started the year in Double-A and now are pitching in the middle of a playoff race. They’ve done quite well since being called up as Britton went 10 1/3 innings before allowing his first run Tuesday night in Houston, while Workman had made three starts, allowing two runs or less and going at least six innings, before being roughed up coming out of the bullpen on Tuesday.
Both have needed to make adjustments from going from being a starter to now pitching out of the bullpen. It hasn’t seemed to phase Britton.
“There really hasn’t been that much,” the 24-year-old left-hander said. “The schedule and routines are a little different, just about what we do during the week so I had to get used to the throwing, and knowing how much to throw, so I don’t over throw, things like that. I still keep the same mentality so it’s been a pretty easy transition.”
For Britton, he says it doesn’t matter what role he has with the club, as long as he can help, he’s ready to go.
“It doesn’t matter -- whatever they need to me do I am into it,” he said.
Follow Metro Red Sox beat writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @hannable84