Yes, the Red Sox are dominating. But this looks awfully easy right now
TORONTO — Don’t be surprised if the Red Sox finish with 110 to 115 wins.
Why not? Do you see who the Red Sox are playing on a nightly basis? The Toronto Blue Jays are truly awful. They could get lucky and run into a ball or two now and then. They might get lucky and one of their pitchers might spin a few clean innings.
The Red Sox have one more game at Rogers Centre after Wednesday night’s 10-5 victory before heading to play four games in Baltimore against the hapless Orioles. It’s possible the Red Sox could complete the sweep here, sweep there, and then head to Philadelphia for two games against an NL playoff contender.
There’s no doubt that given the state of baseball, the Red Sox could win more games than they have ever won. The league has never had such a disparity between the good and the bad. It’s the Red Sox, Yankees, Astros, Indians, A’s, and fading Mariners. That’s it, folks.
We saw how bad the Yankees looked without sluggers Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge. Commissioner Rob Manfred has said that he likes the sudden-death format in the playoffs because it makes for meaningful games in September. But here in August these games are lopsided because Boston is a good team and the opposition isn’t. With a nine-game lead in the AL East, the Red Sox have built a gap that might make the September games meaningless in the division race. The Yankees would need a Red Sox collapse similar to 1978 or 2011 to make the final six meetings between the teams truly meaningful. As long as the Red Sox keep beating up the Sisters of the Poor, this could be a runaway.
Remember, they have accumulated this lead with Chris Sale, Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart, Ian Kinsler, and Dustin Pedroia on the disabled list. They’ve gained ground with Drew Pomeranz unable to find his form of 2017, and with Craig Kimbrel in a closer slump. They just got Rafael Devers back off the DL. I mean, this looks awfully easy right now.
When you watch the Jays fail to catch foul balls and get blanked for five innings by spot starter Brian Johnson, you know why the Red Sox are steamrolling these teams.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the Red Sox haven’t earned this. It’s actually fun to watch them dominate teams on a nightly basis and see J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts roll up MVP-worthy numbers.
The Jays made some noise Wednesday after the Red Sox took a 7-0 lead, touching up Johnson for five runs on two home runs, but the game never was in doubt.
Martinez, meanwhile, continues to gather admirers.
“The numbers he’s putting up . . . he’s incredibly locked in,” said a member of the Jays’ front office. “I haven’t seen a hitter this year who’s as good. As much as we love Mookie, hard to ignore Martinez’s numbers. They are fabulous.”
The Red Sox’ big lead also might allow them to strategically space Sale’s remaining regular-season starts.
Sale is scheduled to come off the DL and pitch Sunday against the Orioles. Globe colleague Alex Speier mapped out a schedule in which Sale could make eight more starts in the regular season, with only one against an AL playoff team (Indians). That would set him up for Game 1 of the Division Series.
The Red Sox aren’t about to give away their strategy, and their plan is to see how Sale feels after he returns to the rotation. But the opportunity to have him skip playoff teams could be huge. Big leads will enable this team to set its rotation, bullpen, and lineup for the long haul, including the playoffs.
If you’re a Red Sox fan, just enjoy what you’re watching. Forget about the “show me in October” stuff. Of course it will come down to how they perform in the postseason, but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the journey.
Worry about October in October.
In the meantime, just be thankful you’re not a fan of the Jays, Rays, or Orioles. You’re watching the best team in baseball right now, and the Red Sox’ dominating play is proof that they are head and shoulders above the rest of the field.
At least for now.