The book officially is closed on the Boston Red Sox’s stellar first half of the 2018 Major League Baseball season.
Boston ended it on a high note when it beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 from Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon. The win was thanks to another home run from Xander Bogaerts, along with some solid offense from the bottom of the order and Craig Kimbrel closing out the game for his 30th save of the season.
It’s been an incredible 98 games for the Red Sox. The team has nine grand slams on the season after not hitting one last year, they lead the American League East by 4 1/2 games over the New York Yankees and they finished their most recent homestand with a 6-1 record.
But as good as the team has been, manager Alex Cora said there’s still room for improvement.
“I think we’ve been very consistent throughout the season and I still feel that we can be better,” Cora said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “There’s a few things that we can improve and that’s a good thing. We still got some challenges in front of us. It’s not like because we had a good first part of the season it’s granted that we’re gonna go all the way.”
There’s plenty to take away from the first half of the season, including Boston leading the league in runs, hits, doubles and batting average.
“I’m proud of what they have accomplished,” Cora said.
Here are some other notes from Sunday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays game.
— Cora said Eduardo Rodriguez, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list Sunday, won’t need surgery on his ankle, however, there is some “serious” ligament damage and will wear a boot and be reevaluated in two weeks.
— The bottom of the Red Sox’s starting nine has been producing well as of late. With Sandy Leon hitting well in addition to others thrown in the bottom three, all thirds of the lineup are swinging well.
“It’s very important,” Cora said after the game. “I know at one point it looked that it wasn’t going to work out. But they kept working, they kept looking for ways to improve and they’re doing an outstanding job.”
— This is the first time since 2007 the Red Sox have entered the All-Star break with MLB’s best record.
“We’ve had an amazing first half,” Kimbrel told NESN’s Tom Caron after the game. “We’re full of confidence.”
— Bogaerts now has driven in 20 runs in his last 11 games, while Jackie Bradley Jr. has nine RBIs in his last 10, per The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham.
— The win put the Sox 38 games above .500.
— Kimbrel now has the most saves before the All-Star break by a Red Sox closer since Jonathan Papelbon’s 28 in 2008.
— Cora announced after the game that Brian Johnson will start Saturday’s tilt against the Detroit Tigers.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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