The Red Sox trouncing of the Yankees from Fenway Park last night by a score of 19-3 brought me back to some happy memories from last October. The game drew many similarities to the Sox victory over the New York by another outrageous score of 16-1 in Game 3 of last years American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium.
Unfortunately for Sox fans that was then, and this is now. Right now in 2019, the defending World Series champion Red Sox are a model of inconsistency and uncertainty. They currently sitting at 57-47, one game back of the top wild card spot which belongs to the Cleveland Indians.
The biggest issue with this Sox team is the shaky pitching staff and Bullpen in particular. Losing Craig Kimbrell and Joe Kelly from last year’s championship roster has left a revolving door full of relievers who have been tasked to close out tight games. Thus far Boston hasn’t been able to find that one reliable guy.
The starting pitching has question marks for the Sox as well. Boston ace Chris Sale was a shoe in for a stellar seven or eight inning outing in 2018. This year he’s taken a sizable step back as his earned run average (ERA) is currently right around four. Veteran lefty starter David Price is the lone sox starter with a sub four ERA this season.
Having said that, the Sox bats are close to right on par with the class of the MLB’s offenses like the Yankees and Houston Astros. They reminded everyone of that last night as Boston put up 19 runs and everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit.
Young star and Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts stole the show at the dish. He went 4-6, drove in four runs and had two homers. Including a 451 foot nuke, good for the longest dinger of Bogaerts’ career. Sox fans like myself have to be thrilled that they locked him up long term with that extension back in April.
Bogaerts and young budding star in third baseman Rafael Devers have headlined the Red Sox offense all year. Devers is a power hitter with a beautiful swing, currently at a .323 batting average this season as a baby in this league. He’s going to be a great player for a long time.
Oh by the way, the Sox still have top MVP candidates from a year ago in Mookie Betts and JD Martinez. After winning the MVP last year, Betts started slow at the plate this year but has started to get it going as of late. Martinez is a consistent threat at the plate batting just under .300 for the year.
So it’d be silly to doubt the Sox on the offensive side. They can beat anybody with that kind of firepower. However, this is one pitching staff I can’t trust in a tough American League playoff push. This team also doesn’t seem to have the same pop and “It” factor that last years 108 win championship team did throughout the year.
Therefore, as much as it pains me to say it, I believe this years team’s ceiling is reaching the wild card round. They’re talented enough to go on a run and recreate the magic they had a year ago. But, repeating is really hard and it rarely happens in the MLB. This team can’t be trusted to pull it off again this fall.