Maybe the Boston Red Sox felt sorry that Canada does not celebrate Independence Day. That could be the only possible justification for the offensive firework display they put on in Toronto over the weekend. The sweep of the blue Jays ran their winning streak up to a season-high nine games and their recent play has them looking like they might not lose another game this year.
The streak has not only pushed the Sox to the top of the AL East but it has now given the team the best record in the American League at 39-26. They now trail only the Philadelphia Phillies by a half game for the best record in all of baseball, which is a feat that seemed almost unthinkable a few weeks earlier in the year.
The Red Sox offense put up 35 runs over the three games north of the border, while the pitching staff only surrendered six runs. The offensive onslaught was particularly impressive especially considering that the 35 runs scored over the weekend either matches or surpasses the number of runs scored by six major league teams over the entire month of June: The Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, Florida Marlins, Houston Astros, Anaheim Angels and Washington Nationals.
While the Red Sox team as a whole has enjoyed great success in the month of June, there are several players in particular whose contributions have really sparked the 9-1 start to the month. One week after being named the AL Player of the Week, David Ortiz has been red hot at the plate.
In his last ten games, “Big Papi” has batted .400 while blasting five home runs and driving in 16 runs over that span. Not only has he been getting hits but they’ve been coming in bunches. Six of those ten games have been multi-hit games. His .325 average and 17 home runs for the year are both fourth best in the American League. His OPS has risen all the way to 1.019 which, unbelievably, is second only to Toronto’s Jose Bautista.
Another player who is thriving in June for the Sox is Adrian Gonzalez. For Gonzalez, this hot streak is just a carryover from another incredible month of May. So far in his first ten games, he has a .410 average including five multi-hit games. His 60 RBIs lead the entire MLB with 14 of those coming in this month.
Surviving an injury scare, Dustin Pedroia has definitely taken advantage of his return to the diamond. Coming into the month, he was sporting a .240 average with only 11 extra base hits. In his nine games in June, however, he has belted out 13 hits, raising his average 22 points (.262). Five of those hits have been for extra bases and he has racked up ten RBIs as well. Widely considered Boston’s vocal leader and inspirational figure, his renewed energy and production has had a profoundly positive impact up and down the roster.
Lastly, even with all of these fantastic performances, Jacoby Ellsbury might have the most impressive statistics of all. He currently has a streak of six straight multi-hit games, inflating his season average to .318. Over the month of June he has hit at an insane .429 clip being aided by two three-hit games and one four-hit effort.
As the leadoff batter, his main focus is getting on base and scoring runs, both of which he has done extremely well. Along with his multi-hit streak, he has also scored at least one run in nine straight games. The 13 runs in June have bumped his season total to 49 which is the third highest in the majors. In addition to his hitting, his speed has also seen a recent increase. Piling up five more steals so far this month, his Major League lead now sits at 24 as no other player had even 20 entering Monday night’s action.
It’s incredible what a difference a couple of months make in this game. April could not have been more of a nightmare for this Boston club who has now not only overcome that, but seems to playing at a pace that if continued would leave their opponents in the dust and blaze a path to another AL East crown and a shot at a World Series title.
With all the hype surrounding this team before they even stepped on the field, it’s a relief to see them finally playing to their potential. Watching this group gel together and round into form has been a treat and the recent results make it hard not to anticipate the summer of fun that awaits the Fenway faithful.