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Are the Red Sox a legitimate contender

Fewer than forty games into the Major League Baseball season, the Red Sox sit atop the AL East and the American League with (after last night’s 3-2 loss to the Athletics’) a record of 22-15. A mark they share with the aforementioned A’s. The question is if this group of utility players – rookies and castoffs Chaim Bloom has brought together – can keep the train rolling.

The answer could be yes. 

From the Top 

Alex Cora’s return to the bench may be Bloom’s best decision to date as the leader of the Jersey Street boys. After sifting through nine candidates rehiring Cora was a humble, smart, and gutsy move, and has to be considered the foundation of the Red Sox early-season success.  Cora has a way with both veteran and young players that few MLB managers have – a former player of Puerto Rican descent who grew up surrounded by baseball. And touches the heart of both Spanish and English-speaking players. It was a hit-or-miss choice to go with his own man or bring Cora home, but to this point, Bloom is batting .400 with this decision.

Chaim Bloom on the hiring of Alex Cora: — Red Sox (@RedSox) November 6, 2020

But Murph who have they played? 

You’re smart people, you’re asking the question – I hear you in my head…While the early-season schedule on face value may be misleading to the untrained eye, the Sox have used this time as almost an extended spring training and it’s given Cora time to fiddle with the lineup and learn where to use the chess pieces Bloom has carved out for him. The Sox stand at 10-6 vs teams above .500 and are capable of much better than the 12-9 mark they sit at vs teams below the quality line. The one area of concern is the 10-10 record at home. Hurrah road trips, they are a sizzling 12-5 away from Fenway. If this squad can learn to win at home? Look out! 

Helps on the Horizon 

As it stands now there are no teams in either the American or National league panicking. Okay sure Detroit and Colorado are treading water but it’s simply too early to worry about the baby and the bathwater, but the Red Sox do have an Ace or three up their sleeve. Jeter Downs could be a post-all-star break call-up to address the lack of stick at second base and Jarren Duran has put a slow start behind him and is eight for his last seventeen including a pair of home runs last night for the Woosox.

Jarren Duran 💥 2nd homer of the season for the No. 3 @RedSox prospect, who is now 7-for-15 over the past 4 games for the @WooSox. — MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 11, 2021

Let’s also not forget the hopes and dreams of Red Sox nation: Chris Sale’s elbow.  Sale is making progress and has thrown off the mound for the first time since his March surgery. While hoping for a return before the All-Star Break is wishing well fodder, I believe he could make a significant contribution down the stretch. With the old playoff format returning, a top of the rotation guy could become available, but will Bloom give up some of the minor league capital he has accumulated to bring one in? More importantly, will Jon Henry forgo a tank of yacht fuel and spend a bit of money on his baseball team?

But let’s digress, shall we? While the Red Sox hot start has surprised most of New England and all of major league baseball, it isn’t that far of a reach that this start to 2021 should continue into the dog days of summer. A lineup led by Xander Bogaerts, Rafel Devers, and J.D. Martinez with the right gameday calls by Cora could have this team playing meaningful games in September and dare I say into October.  

As always you can follow/give me grief on Twitter @Tmurph207 

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