It’s a good time to be a Boston Red Sox alumnus.
While the Red Sox will watch the Major League Baseball playoffs from home this season, several former Boston players will continue into the postseason. Some will play a significant role this October.
Sure, that doesn’t do anything to ease the pain of a last-place finish. Let’s be real. The Red Sox aren’t exactly striving to be a big league stepping stone, especially after winning the World Series in 2013. But seeing some familiar faces could make the playoffs a little, teeny, tiny bit more interesting for Sox fans, no?
OK, either way, let’s catch up with some former Red Sox who could leave their mark this October.
Jon Lester, LHP: Lester will take the ball for Oakland in the American League wild card game. The left-hander has been phenomenal since joining the A’s — 6-4 with a 2.35 ERA in 11 starts — and Tuesday’s winner-take-all showdown with Kansas City Royals ace James Shields is exactly why the A’s acquired Lester at the trade deadline.
Jonny Gomes, OF: Gomes has a flair for the dramatic. He also hasn’t homered in 75 plate appearances since joining the A’s. He’ll likely need to wait until the ALDS to flash any magic with a right-hander toeing the rubber Tuesday.
Jed Lowrie, SS: Lowrie’s two-year stint with Oakland could end soon, as the 30-year-old is set to hit free agency. He’s dealt with some injuries this season that clearly have limited his production, but a .295 average in September is nothing to sneeze at.
Brandon Moss, LF: Moss has been awful the last two months, hitting .173 with a .584 OPS in the second half. He drilled a career-high 30 homers last season and another 25 this season, though. In October, one swing could alter the course of history.
Coco Crisp, CF: Crisp will serve as the A’s leadoff hitter, though the second half wasn’t kind to the 34-year-old. He hit .191 with a .272 on-base percentage in 53 games after the All-Star break versus .291 with a .387 on-base percentage in 73 games before the Midsummer Classic.
Josh Reddick, RF: Reddick has had ups and downs since landing with the A’s before the 2012 season. The 27-year-old performed well down the stretch this season, hitting .299 with eight homers, 30 RBIs and an .869 OPS in 55 second-half contests.
Nick Punto, IF: The Shredder provides depth off the bench. He knows his role and does it well. He also has plenty of postseason experience.
Kansas City Royals
None. Too bad.
Los Angeles Angels
John McDonald, IF: McDonald has made a career out of playing steady defense. He’ll probably sit this postseason out with Gordon Beckham joining the mix in August.
Andrew Miller, LHP: Miller has been awesome. The lefty only has gotten better with the Orioles, posting a 1.35 ERA in 23 appearances spanning 20 innings. He’s a valuable late-inning option for Buck Showalter.
Kelly Johnson, IF/OF: Johnson has played for every team in the AL East, so that’s fun. He’ll likely suit up in a bench role for the O’s, though he could see action at third base.
Quintin Berry, OF: He’s fast. That’s valuable in the playoffs, but he probably won’t crack Baltimore’s playoff roster.
Victor Martinez, DH: V-Mart has been a stud. He finished second in the AL batting race this season.
Anibal Sanchez, RHP: The Tigers will use Sanchez out of the bullpen despite him being better than Justin Verlander this season.
Joel Hanrahan, RHP: Hurt.
Jose Iglesias, SS: Hurt.
Mark Melancon, RHP: Melancon has been tremendous as Pittsburgh’s closer. He saved 33 games this year.
Stolmy Pimentel, RHP: Good guy, I’m sure. He won’t sniff the mound.
San Francisco Giants
Jake Peavy, RHP: Peavy’s been great since landing in the Bay Area, owning a 2.17 ERA in 12 starts. He could take the ball in Game 1 of the NLDS if the Giants defeat the Pirates in the National League wild card game.
Javier Lopez, LHP: Lefty specialist. Learn to love them.
Marco Scutaro, SS: Hurt.
Matt Thornton, LHP: Thornton hasn’t allowed a run in 18 appearances (11 1/3 innings) with Washington. He’s a lefty specialist at this stage of his career.
Adam LaRoche, 1B: Good pop. Strikes out a fair amount. Classic first baseman.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B: Gonzalez won the NL RBI crown. He posted a .929 OPS in the second half while anchoring the Dodgers’ offense, which enjoyed a huge September.
Hanley Ramirez, SS: Ramirez, a free agent-to-be, is in line for a nice payday. He could elevate his stock with a big October.
Carl Crawford, OF: Crawford is showing life, believe it or not, hitting .333 in 58 second-half games. With both Crawford and Gonzalez producing, the August 2012 blockbuster doesn’t look quite as bad for L.A.
Josh Beckett, RHP: Hurt.
St. Louis Cardinals
John Lackey, RHP: Lackey has been so-so with the Cardinals. He typically steps up in the playoffs, though. St. Louis can feel good about him slotting in behind Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn.
Justin Masterson, RHP: It’s been an awful year for Masterson. The 29-year-old pitched his way out of the playoff picture.
A.J. Pierzynski, C: Pierzynski is on St. Louis’ roster bubble. Tony Cruz will back up Yadier Molina, but Pierzynski could be kept around as an additional left-handed bat. We’ll see.
Photo via Ed Szczepanski/USA TODAY Sports Images
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