Boston Red Sox: 3 Players who need to step up down the stretch

Kyle Schwarber #18 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Kyle Schwarber #18 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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Boston Red Sox
Jarren Duran #40 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /

There is a sense of urgency surrounding the Boston Red Sox currently. That would make sense, especially considering they held a 4.5 game lead a top the AL East just a month ago, but now find themselves sitting five games out of first behind the Tampa Bay Rays.

With the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays hovering behind the Sox for a wild card spot, it’s imperative this team gets their act together before it’s too late.

After a slow trade deadline seemed to tank this team, we’ve seen that urgency come to life these past few days. Kyle Schwarber had a one game rehab assignment in Worcester after missing the last six weeks of action before being activated for last night’s series opener against the Baltimore Orioles. Going out the door was utility man Marwin Gonzalez, who has been struggling for much of the season.

It’s moves like this that have been missing for quite some time now for the Sox. After essentially going into a free fall, not much was done aside from moving Martin Perez and Garrett Richards to the bullpen. In fairness, the Sox have struggled with keeping their guys on the field lately, but that’s not the case anymore.

Boston is starting to get their guys back, and they will need them to perform if they want to hold onto their wild card spot. The Sox have had some truly exceptional performers this season, but they will need other guys to step up and help carry the load for the rest of the season. Here are three guys who the Boston Red Sox will need to step up to help this team secure a playoff spot down the stretch of the season.

Boston Red Sox player who needs to step up No. 3: Bobby Dalbec/Jarren Duran

Ok so I may have cheated a bit, but there’s a reason for this. Schwarber and Alex Verdugo have already rejoined the team, but that may just be the start of it. Guys like Christian Vazquez, Christian Arroyo, and Danny Santana are nearing returns as well, and that’s just in the lineup. Something is going to have to give until rosters expand to 28 players on September 1st.

Two guys who may end up getting squeezed out for the time being are Bobby Dalbec and Jarren Duran. Both guys are younger players who have struggled for most of their time in the majors, and with the influx of players coming back, there’s a good chance at least one of them is going to get sent back to the minors for a period of time.

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That’s why I have included both, as regardless which one of these guys are on the major league roster, they will need to step up and help out down the stretch. Both Dalbec and Duran were expected to provide a jolt to this team this season, and although they have had very different stints with the team, they have failed to do so for the most part.

Dalbec has had a season long tryout at first base this season, and has only managed to hit .229 with just 12 home runs. He has shown signs of life recently, as he has multiple hits in three of his last four games, as well as eight runs batted in in his last two games.

Duran on the other hand has played in just 22 games this season, but has struggled similarly. He’s hitting just .216 with two home runs after lighting things up in Worcester earlier this season. Yet similarly to Dalbec, Duran appears to finding his stride, also recording three multi hit games over the past week of action.

Of the two, it’s more likely Duran would get sent back down to Worcester for a brief stint. Boston has rode with Dalbec all season long, and while Schwarber may be the answer as first base, it would be much safer to have Dalbec with the team as an extra layer of support incase it doesn’t.

Whether one or both of them stay, it’s clear Boston needs more from it’s young guns. Both have disappointed so far, and failed to provide a spark to a team that has desperately needed one for the past month or so. If Boston wants to hold onto a playoff spot, they are going to need these two guys to shake of their struggles, and step up over the last month and a half of the season.