After losing last night to the Texas Rangers 9-5, the Boston Red Sox now sit at 34-34. I doubt anyone expected this, but here we are on June 12th and the Sox sit third in the division, eight games back of the Tampa Bay Rays and a very injured New York Yankee team.
It is kind of hard to pinpoint exactly what has gone wrong with the team thus far in 2019, but there are a couple of areas of play in which Boston is lacking compared to their historic 2018 season.
First off, no one on offense besides Xander Bogaerts, Christian Vazquez, and Rafael Devers have performed to-or surpassed- the level of play they were at in 2018. Devers has shown the promise he had being a top prospect, Bogey is showing he is a consistent as any, and Vazquez has been a pleasant surprise behind the dish. But other than that? Mookie Betts is hitting .267. Andrew Benintendi is right behind him at .263. It is definitely less than ideal to have your two table setters hit like that, especially after what they did the season before.
The team has also struggled to hit with runners in scoring position. The only man on the team with an average above .300 in those opportunities is the aforementioned Benintendi. That was not the case last year as the Sox consistently knocked guy after guy in.
Then there is the pitching. Boston’s lack of depth has been shown in a serious way. Steven Wright went down with a suspension, Nathan Eovaldi got hurt, and the Sox rotation has ended up having to depend on the likes of Ryan Weber to get things done. I mean, David Price has been great. Chris Sale has been good after his terrible start. But you are only as strong as your weakest link.
To make matters worse, the Red Sox went into the year without a very reliable bullpen. Manager Alex Cora has been mixing and matching all year trying to find the right combination, but the combo Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier have been somewhat unsuccessful in locking down the late innings.
All of these issues combined have hampered the Sox all season. Yes, there have been some surprises like Michael Chavis and Marcus Walden, but those two are not going to win you much. You need the guys like Betts to step up, and they have not. That makes me think that Boston just doesn’t have the juice this season.
-Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)