Time flies when you’re having fun, right?
Believe it or not, the Boston Red Sox are exactly halfway through their 2018 season after defeating the Los Angeles Angels 9-6 on Wednesday night in their 81st game.
To say the Red Sox have exceeded their lofty expectations so far would be an understatement: They enter Thursday boasting Major League Baseball’s best record at 54-27 and are on pace to win 108 games, which would mark the most in franchise history.
But how exactly are the Red Sox stacking up against preseason predictions? Below, we revisit the bold predictions we made before Opening Day and see how they’re doing with 81 games left on the slate. Who said we’re not accountable?
Bold prediction No. 1: Four Red Sox players will steal at least 20 bases.
Update: Boston is tied for the American League lead with 60 steals, so manager Alex Cora is following through on his commitment to the run game. But the Sox are spreading the wealth: Outside Mookie Betts (14 steals), Andrew Benintendi (13) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (eight steals), no player has more than five swipes this season. Translation: This probably isn’t gonna happen.
Bold prediction No. 2: Xander Bogaerts will top the .300 mark.
Update: This prediction looked great in March and April, as Bogaerts posted a scorching .412 batting average over his first 12 games. The Red Sox shortstop since has come back to earth, though, watching his average dip to .273. The good news: His power appears to be back, as he’s on pace for a career-high 24 home runs.
Verdict: Likely miss.
Bold prediction No. 3: J.D. Martinez will hit the most home runs in Major League Baseball.
Update: Your MLB home run leader through 81 games? That’d be Mr. Martinez, with 25. Boston’s marquee offseason acquisition is living up to the hype and then some, leading MLB in several statistical categories and setting Red Sox records in the process. As predicted, his swing looks like a great fit for Fenway Park.
Verdict: So far so good.
Bold prediction No. 4: Rafael Devers will rack up 30 home runs and 90 RBIs.
Update: This admittedly was a lofty goal for a 21-year-old kid in his first MLB season. Devers could come close, though: He’s on pace for 24 homers and 82 RBIs after notching 12 dingers and 41 RBIs through Thursday. More concerning is his .241 batting average, which ranks 10th among qualified Red Sox hitters.
Verdict: Close, but no cigar.
Bold prediction No. 5: Brian Johnson will earn a spot in the starting rotation.
Update: Well, Johnson is starting Thursday night … He’s just filling in for the injured Steven Wright, though, and has made just one other spot start this season. Johnson has been decent this year, but with Drew Pomeranz hopeful to return soon, he looks like nothing more than a depth option right now.
Bold prediction No. 6: Carson Smith will record at least 10 saves.
Update: We thought this was the year. We really did. Alas, Smith underwent season-ending shoulder surgery earlier this month, prematurely ending his third consecutive Red Sox campaign. There’s always next year.
Verdict: Swing and a miss.
Bold prediction No. 7: The Red Sox will make the playoffs — and David Price will start Game 1 of the ALDS.
Update: That first part is looking like gravy, although there could be some drama if the New York Yankees win the AL East and force Boston into a wild-card game. Price has been solid of late, but Chris Sale has been downright brilliant, so unless Cora really wants to shake things up, Sale is your Game 1 starter.
Verdict: Half right?