Following an offensive breakout over the weekend that featured 36 runs and three wins in the final three games against the Pirates at home, the Braves are either on the cusp of a nice, long win streak… or simply just another short break from what’s been mostly a dismal 2021 season. Not to seem too negative, but we’ve been here before, right? Win two or three… to then lose three or four in a row.
Although hopefully, that trend ends this week. Following the team’s off-day on Monday, the Braves will travel to Fenway on Tuesday to take on the Red Sox for the first time this season as part of a two-game series. The two clubs will meet again at Truist on June 15 and 16. And despite many of us that doubted their preseason projections (FanGraphs gave the Red Sox the fifth-highest 2021 winning% in MLB), this is a Boston team that’s currently playing like one of the best in the sport.
Winners of seven of their last 10 and sporting a 29-19 overall record, the Red Sox have been one of the major’s most complete teams so far in 2021, benefiting from a strong offense to go with a dominant starting rotation and bullpen. Just take a look at where each of those three position groups ranks through Sunday’s games…
Hitting WAR – t-3rd / 9.3 WAR
SP WAR – 4th / 5.4 WAR
Bullpen WAR – 3rd / 2.1 WAR
This season, Boston is a team that can beat you in many different ways. Offensively the club has flourished from the hitting of Xander Bogaerts (173 wRC+), J.D. Martinez (12 HR), and Rafael Devers (12 HR); the starting staff has been led by Nathan Eovaldi (1.7 WAR), Nick Pivetta (3.59 ERA), and Eduardo Rodriguez (9.82 K/9, 1.64 BB/9). In the late-innings, guys like Matt Barnes (16.1 K/9), Adam Ottavino (11.7 K/9), and Garrett Whitlock (2.01 ERA) have been nearly unhittable out of the bullpen.
From top to bottom, this is a Red Sox team on an upward trend, and this season everything seems to be going their way. This team won nine straight games last month, as part of a 17-10 April. And even more impressive is how good Boston has been during tight ballgames, shown by its .643 winning% (9-5 record) in one-run contests this year.
It’s the makings of a great matchup over these next few days: the Braves are recently beginning to show life, winners of three in a row, and the Red Sox have been hot all season. But which team can keep the momentum going? We’ll soon find out!
Braves @ Red Sox
GM 1: Tue, 7:10 PM / Bally Sports Southeast
(4.60 ERA) Charlie Morton, RHP vs. (3.72 ERA) Garrett Richards, RHP
GM 2: Wed, 7:10 PM / Bally Sports South
(5.11 ERA) Drew Smyly, LHP vs. (3.59 ERA) Nick Pivetta, RHP