As of September 17, the Boston Red Sox sit at 77-70, an insurmountable 19 games back of the New York Yankees and an immense 10 games back of the second Wild Card spot. The season is over for the defending World Series Champions.
Last season, the Red Sox had their best regular season in franchise history, going 108-54 and capping it off with a World Series title at the end of October 2018. But 2019 has been a long, dreadful hangover-of-a-season.
For one, the pitching staff was awful on the front end and the back end.
The Red Sox starting rotation boasted Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodriguez, but failed to produce much. Sale, a seven-time all star and widely regarded top pitcher in the league, was extremely underwhelming in 2019. He ended the season 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA, a full point and change higher than his career ERA. Eovaldi could not stay healthy and was moved to the bullpen, where his pitching woes continued. And to top it off, Porcello finished with the worst ERA in the entire MLB (5.83).
Keep in mind, Porcello somehow won the Cy Young Award in 2016.
Eduardo Rodriguez was surprisingly the best on the staff with a 17-6 record and 3.73 ERA.
As a staff, they had the twelfth worst ERA (4.66) in the MLB.
The bullpen had a 4.31 ERA, thirteenth in the league, but also had 27 blown saves, the third most in the MLB. Not great.
Despite the struggles on the mound, the Red Sox offense was still one of the best in the MLB. The Sox finished top five in runs, doubles, hits, RBI, AVG, OBP, SLG and OPS.
Third-baseman Rafael Devers and shortstop Xander Bogaerts both had fantastic seasons, but their great offense was not enough to overcome the woes of the pitching that crippled the season from the start.
With the Red Sox out of sight for playoff contention, ownership made the decision last week to fire General Manager Dave Dombrowski with less than a month of play to go.
Dombrowski obviously won a World Championship less than a year ago, and had been in Boston for four years, so his firing was a bit surprising.
Dombrowski is known for killing a team’s farm system with the idea to “win now.” That is what he did with Boston.
I do not think anyone can be mad at Dombrowski because he did what he came here to do, which was win a World Series. I do blame him, however, for the bullpen (which he did not fix at all) and the mismanagement of the pitching staff. If the pitching staff was just average, the Red Sox would be off to another postseason. The offense was too good to go unsupported by a mediocre pitching staff for the entirety of the
The Red Sox just could not put together wins this season. The team could not win at home (36-39 at Fenway Park), could not win against teams above .500 (27-42) and, maybe most importantly, could not win against the AL East leading Yankees (5-14). The season is over and it ain’t even October; a new feeling for Sox fans.
The Red Sox have less than a 0.1% chance of making the playoffs according to Baseball-Reference.
It is tough for Red Sox fans to see because the city knows the squad should have been better.
It is a shame to see an elite offense go to waste and see elite pitchers like Chris Sale have terrible seasons. So what’s next? Dombrowski is gone, and there will be a new general manager for the future.
Boston’s best players, like Mookie Betts and JD Martinez, could get traded or walk this offseason and the rebuilding process will begin again.
A year after yet another World Series win, the best team of 2018 could not even make the 2019 playoffs.
It is safe to say, on behalf of Red Sox Nation, this season did not live up to expectations. Heading into the extended offseason, it will be noteworthy to see what additions the team will make.