With the American League East title within clear view, and a general playoff spot that much closer, the following six men are going to be crucial (likely) members of 25-man roster, and will have to continue to play to the quality in which they have been doing to help find the team some major success.
Arguably, Chris Sale has been one of (if not) the best pitcher in the Boston rotation. With a series against the Indians likely, Sale is going to have to step up and learn how to tame them, which he has had serious trouble doing in the past.
In his 29 career games against Cleveland, he has seen some major difficulty. Since 2011, when he first played against the Tribe, he has mounted a 4.78 earned run average, his worst make against any American League team (excluding the Chicago White Sox, his former team). Another variable to consider in this situation is the fact that Sale has never played in a single playoff game in his entire seven-year career.
Whether you like it or not, Mookie Betts has been one of the only consistent sources of power within the Red Sox roster. Having been overworked prior to last year’s ALDS, Betts still shined as he hit a double, and drew a pair of walks in the series. But now, with the season winding down, he is being used substantially less in comparison to give him some much-needed rest before the playoffs. He is going to be a crucial, and everyday member of the team during this time for his power, and extra-base hits. He is third in the majors in doubles, with 43 of them.
During Boston’s brief playoff run last year, Andrew Benintendi played a fairly large role in Game 1 of the ALDS. He had two hits, and also even managed to score a run on top of that. It is also worth noting, that was with just about a month of MLB experience. But now, with a full year under his belt, he will certainly be a force to be reckoned with come postseason time.
Although he is battling a sprain in his right knee, Eduardo Nunez is going to have an important job when he comes back. That is to keep on hitting. Before Nunez was apart of this team, they could not hit. But now that he’s here, he provided a much-needed spark. When the playoffs come around, this guy can bring “it.” In the 2012 postseason as a New York Yankees, Nunez contributed a double, triple, home run and managed to score his team’s only run in two separate games.
When you speak of men who you want your postseason roster, the name Doug Fister should most certainly come to mind. “Fist”, as some people call him, has had a great deal of success in postseason contention. Aside from his first playoff game in 2011 as a Detroit Tiger, the right-hander has been an absolute workhorse. Fister has a 1.78 ERA in the playoffs and has held opponents to a .247 clip. This will likely give him solid merit to a rotation spot near the front of the pack.
Drew “Big Smooth” Pomeranz has only pitched in two postseason games, both were out of the bullpen as a member of the Red Sox in 2016. In those games, he pitched a combined 3.2 innings without allowing a single run. But that’s not what’s supposed to be impressive. What is supposed to be impressive is his last 17 games. In that time, he only lost once. In those 99 innings, he held his opponents to a 2.55 ERA, and 1.303 WHIP.