Red Sox Manager Alex Cora, left, celebrates with starting pitcher Brayan Bello, second from right, as J.D. Martinez looks on after Boston defeated the Texas Rangers on Saturday at Fenway Park. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

It’s the final month of the baseball season. Some teams are looking ahead to the final weeks of the playoff race while others are already looking ahead to the postseason. Those are the fortunate franchises. There are many others looking ahead to next year, their playoff hopes already extinguished.

The Boston Red Sox are caught in the middle, hoping their flickering playoff hopes can fire up while knowing it would take a near-historic finish to make that happen. And that might not even be enough.

The holiday weekend was a good stretch of baseball for both the short- and long-term dreams of the Sox. They swept a four-game series from the Rangers, a team that gave up the hopes of a playoff appearance long ago.

More importantly, the Sox gave us a glimpse of the future at Fenway. Brayan Bello picked up his first major league win on Saturday, a day before Triston Casas made his big-league debut.

Bello had started his major league career with an 0-4 record in seven appearances, but looked the part of a top prospect against the Rangers. He threw six scoreless innings, striking out five and allowing just three hits. He was poised, confident and energetic throughout the start.

By the time he bolted off the mound after a 1-2-3 sixth inning, Bello had won over the admiration of his teammates. It’s rare to see a 23-year old in control of a big-league game, and Bello was in control from the start.


“I haven’t seen guys make their debut and, pitching wise, be that confident,” Xander Bogaerts told reporters after the game. “It’s pretty impressive.”

Speaking of confidence, you’d be hard pressed to find a 22-year old as self-assured as first baseman Triston Casas. And that’s a compliment. Casas isn’t overly cocky, but he seems more than ready to take his talent to the next level.

Before his debut on Sunday, Casas stood in the batting cage, visualizing his first big-league at-bat. He was barefoot. At least he wore a T-shirt, putting it back on after lying shirtless in the right-field grass doing stretching exercises.

“I feel better after I get some sunlight on my body,” Casas told reporters.

Boston’s Triston Casas runs to first base after fielding a ground ball Sunday against the Texas Rangers at Fenway Park. Casas went 1 for 4 in his major league debut. Paul Connors/Associated Press

The Red Sox felt better watching Casas play first base. He made several plays in the Red Sox’ 5-2 win. They were the type of plays the Sox have been missing most of this season, as Bobby Dalbec and Franchy Cordero struggled at the position.

Casas didn’t seem to feel much pressure to fill that void. The crowd roared when he drove one to right field in his first at-bat, though it fell short of Pesky’s Pole. He picked up his first hit in the fifth inning, an infield single that Corey Seager couldn’t quite get to.


“It was everything I’ve ever dreamed of,” Casas said after the game. “I’ve been working towards this for a long time.”

The 6-foot-5, 250-pound slugger soaked up the entire experience. The sun, the atmosphere and the food. Like any 22-year old, he likes to eat. Before he took the field he was blown away by the dining options at the big-league level.

“Probably the kitchen,” he said when asked what impressed him the most at Fenway. “I don’t think any minor-league facility has anything like that.”

After a breakfast of avocado toast and eggs, Casas went out onto the field to start the game and, the Sox hope, a solid career.

The Red Sox may not be ready to give up on 2022 just yet, but they know there are major questions to answer before 2023. Casas and Bello may have answered two of those questions over the weekend.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. He is a graduate of Lewiston High School.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: