COMMENTARY| Following successful series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and in Tampa, the Boston Red Sox are 41-26. This is the best record in the American League. While many pundits and prognosticators thought this team would be struggling (including this writer) the Red Sox have silenced them all with stellar pitching and timely hitting.
Boston is getting outstanding contributions from their premier players like Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and many others. Even players like John Lackey have stepped up and continue to make the grade. However, the gist of this post is to point out the quality performances of the role players…the unsung heroes of Red Sox Nation so far. While Boston would still be competitive with their primetime players, the role players have certainly helped bring this team to a higher level.
Mike Carp- What a season it has been for the former Seattle Mariner. Carp, who was acquired in February for basically nothing, has been incredibly productive so far in Boston. The one-time high prospect is making the most out of his second opportunity. Carp is off to his best start in the majors hitting .330 with six HRs and 22 RBIs in limited play. The 26 year-old has also been valuable in the field, playing numerous positions at a respectable level. Carp has an opportunity to make some decent money this offseason if these numbers hold up.
Andrew Miller- While his numbers won't "wow" anyone, Miller's effort should. The big lefty has been a warrior in the bullpen so far this season, performing well in many roles. Miller's ERA (3.38) and WHIP (1.41) are both under his career average and he has over twice as many strikeouts (35) than walks (12).
Jose Iglesias- He may not be productive in the minor leagues, but Iglesias continues to rake for Boston. He is hitting .449 with a staggering 1.071 OPS. Yes, the sample size is still small, but Iglesias has shown no signs of slowing down, considering has hit safely in 14 of his last 15 games. His glove was exceptional while filling in at third base for an injured Will Middlebrooks. Is Iglesias ready to be an everyday player for Boston? Well, he's putting up a very good argument.
Junichi Tazawa- He was a borderline pitcher to make the team. He's now one of the more valuable pitchers in the bullpen. Tazawa has been sound this season in numerous roles, aiding the Sox to many wins. He did struggle in the closer role, but aside from those games, Tazawa has been very good. His ERA is 2.43 with a 1.08 WHIP. Before Monday night Tazawa hadn't allowed a run in June.
Craig Breslow- Though he missed a good portion of the early season due to injury, Breslow has cruised back into form. The lefty has an ERA of 2.04 and a WHIP of .96 in 18 appearances. Breslow has brought much-needed left-handed depth to the bullpen.
Daniel Nava- This may be a stretch, considering the limited time he has played this season. However, Nava wasn't expected to play as much as he has. The combination of injuries and solid play has continued to give Nava at-bats. The 30 year-old is hitting .299 with nine HRs and 44 RBIs. Nava is the ultimate success story. Left for dead numerous times, he continues to impress when given the opportunity. And now he's practically a regular on the best team in the American League. Look for Nava to continue to give tremendous effort to a team that benefits greatly from it.
Chris Sedenka is a Yahoo! Contributor in Sports covering the Boston Red Sox. You can listen to his daily radio show on 96.3FM in Portland, ME or at thebigjab.com. He is also the voice of the Maine Red Claws of the NBA D-League.
You can follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisSedenka.
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