The 2018 World Series Champions have simply enough not looked like World Champions in 2019. After just reaching the halfway point of the season, the Red Sox are sitting just a little over .500.
The Sox haven’t been awful, but there is one glaring issue that has been holding them back all year.
Before the season, the only issue I, and everyone else, saw in this team was a possibly weak bullpen. Although it seemed to be obvious, no moves were made and the Sox are now struggling to close out games every night. Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Colten Brewer (not as much), Marcus Walden, Heath Hembree... it hasn’t been pretty for the majority of time.
So far this season the Sox have quietly been hitting the crap out of the ball. They’ve scored 484 runs (5.56 runs per game), which is good for fourth most in the entire league, but nine teams have a better winning percentage than them. That is due to the woes of the pen.
The Sox currently sit at 18th in runs allowed, with 436; making them, the Rangers, and the Colorado Rockies the only teams above .500 in that grouping. If the pitching was better, Boston could find themselves a lot closer to the Yankees instead of being 11 games back.
From the beginning of the season, we have seen how lackluster the names coming to the mound in the later innings are, and their performance has been even worse. They’ve recorded an AWFUL 18 blown saves this year,. If it wasn’t for the Mets incompetence they’d be the worst in the majors. 18!
Not that the starters have been great at all, allowing an earned run average that is actually worse than the bullpen this season. The starters have a combined ERA of 4.70, while the bullpen’s combined ERA is 4.45. So, it’s not just the bullpen that’s been atrocious, the starters suck too. That oughta make pitching coach Dana LeVangie a top head coaching candidate this offseason.
Now that we know that all pitching has been bad for the Sox, how do they attack the issue?
They should make a trade or pickup a low level starter than can win the occasional game, and at least give you five good innings. That’s something I don’t believe Brian Johnson can consistently do for you.
For the bullpen, you have to go get an arm. Spend the money, make a trade, because it’s just not working. I love the idea of putting Nathan Eovaldi as the closer for the time being, because I brought that up months ago (humble brag). That being said, it’s only an experiment and Craig Kimbrel isn’t walking through that door (thanks Dave Dombrowski).
The Sox need arms badly, the hitting is still as good, if not better, than last years historically great season. The only thing that has changed is their inability to get batters out consistently. The Sox need to go grab a fifth starter, and a late innings guy at the minimum, and if Eovaldi doesn’t work out it’s time to splurge on a closer too.
The Boston Red Sox are a few pieces away from being as good as last year, it’s just up to Dave Dombrowski to make the moves, Alex Cora to push the right buttons, and the pitching staff to wake up.
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