One year ago the Boston Red Sox found themselves in first place chasing their fourth World Series ring this century. Today the Sox are in third place and clawing their way back into the Wild Card race.
At the 2019 All-Star break, Boston sits nine games out of first place with a 49-41 record. The Craig Kimbrel sized hole in the bullpen isn’t the only issue for the Sox. Mookie Betts, Chris Sale, and the entire pitching staff have been the flat tire of the 2019 Red Sox to this point.
Boston Red Sox 2019 Midseason Report
Up to Par
Xander Bogaerts has quietly become one of the most elite shortstops in baseball. Getting better in each of his professional seasons, and recently adding home run power to his arsenal, Bogaerts has put together the best season by a shortstop in 2019.
J.D. Martinez is as consistent as they come. The DH leads the team in home runs with 18 and is second on the team in batting average at .304 — trailing only Rafael Devers. Even though his home run numbers are slightly down, Martinez is still the rock that remains in the middle of Boston’s lineup.
David Price has been the best pitcher in a disappointing Boston rotation. Price has lasted at least five innings in all but two starts this season and leads the starting staff with a 3.24 ERA. Although he may not have the accolades of Sale, Price has saved the Red Sox from sinking completely.
Christian Vazquez’s season has been overshadowed by the clubs inconsistencies. However, the backstop is having the best season by a Red Sox catcher since 2010 when Victor Martinez was with the team. Vazquez is on pace to have career highs in runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, and RBI. Along with this, he currently has the highest batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS that he’s seen in his career.
Michael Chavis has been the best thing that nobody expected this season. After an Eduardo Nunez injury prompted his promotion to Boston, Chavis has helped provide power while Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce continue their extended stay on the Injured List. He sits just three home runs behind Martinez for the team lead, despite playing in only 69 of the clubs 90 games this season.
Rafael Devers continues his rise to stardom, and his leap in 2019 is far greater than anybody expected. Not only has Devers become a bona fide middle of the order bat, but has overcome early-season defensive struggles to now being a rock-solid defensive third baseman. He may not be Nolan Arenado or Matt Chapman, but he has come a long way since his big league debut.
Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Betts were apart of the best outfield in baseball last season, but season-long struggles for the ‘Killer B’s’ have hurt more than just their nickname. Alex Cora has been playing managerial musical chairs at the top of his lineup with Benintendi and Betts. These two have been unable to find their groove that brought them so much success last season, and it shows. They have the eight and ninth best batting averages on the team to this point and have driven in almost 30 fewer runs than Bogaerts — who leads the club.
Sale has had his moments this season, but not nearly enough of them. As a result, the lefty wasn’t selected to the All-Star team for the first time in eight seasons. Sale simply hasn’t been the horse that Boston needs to solidify their rotation. Inability to command both his fastball and secondary pitches have only been part of the issue. The days of Sale blowing hitters away with 98 mph fastballs seem to be a thing of the past. Without the velocity he once had, command of his fastball is more critical now than ever.
Matt Barnes appeared to be the closer by default, on the fact that there weren’t many other options. This is an experiment that Red Sox Nation can close the book on. Barnes has had 10 save opportunities this season but has only converted four of them. He also has his worst ERA since 2015. Perhaps the most staggering number for Barnes is what you rely on most from a closer. When Barnes is on one or two days rest, batters only hit .200 against him. When he pitches on back-to-back nights, that average jumps all the way to .317, while hitters slash .408/.585/.994.
Embed from Getty Images