On Sunday afternoon the Boston Red Sox officially wrapped up the first half of their 2023 season with a 4-3 win over the Oakland Athletics. That win capped a weekend sweep at Fenway Park, and has the Red Sox heading into the All-Star break with wins in eight of their last nine games.
That stretch leaves the Red Sox at 48-43 at the break – one game better than their record heading into the break last year. They sit in fifth place in the American League East, just a game back of the New York Yankees and two games behind the Toronto Blue Jays.
While their nine game deficit behind the first-place Tampa Bay Rays leaves a division title a longshot at best, the Wild Card picture looks much more favorable – as long as they can continue with the momentum they built leading into the break. They sit two games out of a Wild Card spot, with the Blue Jays and Houston Astros currently tied for the second and third spots behind the Baltimore Orioles. Only the Yankees sit between the Red Sox and that Toronto and Houston tie.
That positioning in the standings – not quite in the mix officially but certainly not out of things – feels appropriate for what the Red Sox have been in the first half. They’ve been consistently inconsistent, with high highs matched by low lows. That’s both the roster as a whole, and on a player-by-player basis for some key guys. Mounting injuries have bit the team at times as well.
Which players have kept the Red Sox in ‘contention’ through the first half? And who does the team need more from if they’re going to make a serious push in the dog days of summer? Let’s take a look with some mid-season awards…