Boston Red Sox 2019 Season Recap
The 2019 Boston Red Sox entered the season with higher expectations than anyone in baseball. Just one season removed from winning a franchise-record 108 games on their way to their ninth World Series title, the team fell flat on their face in April, and it never got much better.
This year’s team will be remembered for a handful of things. But perhaps the most glaring of them all was the starting pitchers’ incapability to be consistent. However, not everything surrounding this team was so disappointing. Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and Christian Vazquez all set personal bests throughout 2019. They helped supplement an offense which kept this team as competitive as they could be throughout a long summer. As a result, the offense remained one of the most elite lineups in the league. But many of the moves made, and many of the feats that were reached this season proved to be as useful as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. They were useless with a pitching staff that would have as much trouble finding their way out of a paper bag as they would getting out of the first inning.
The pitching difficulties began from jump street in the team’s title defense. The Red Sox kicked off the season on an 11-game west coast trip. By the time that they returned to Boston for the ring ceremony, they sat with a lowly 3-8 record and were allowing an average of 6.5 runs per game.
As a whole, this year’s pitching staff had one of the worst statistical seasons in recent memory. In 118 seasons of Red Sox baseball, this team allowed the 19th most runs on average per game. Going hand-in-hand with that, they also held the 15th worst ERA in franchise history and the worst WHIP since 2012. Last but certainly not least, the 2019 team holds sole possession of the most HR/9 allowed by a Red Sox team since 1901. Despite the fact that the entire league has experienced a spike in home run totals recently, this years team sticks out like a sore thumb. Going back to 2016, the team allowed 1.10 HR/9, 1.18 in 2017, and 1.09 in 2018. In 2019 however, an astronomical 1.31 home runs were allowed per nine innings.
While the pitching struggled, Boston was still able to retain the elite offense from years past. In the midst of a disappointing season for the team, the Red Sox still own a top-five spot in runs, hits, doubles, RBI, walks, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS.
Bogaerts and Devers led the way for the lineup, while the team also saw a bump from Vazquez. The infield partners each flirted with the MVP conversation all season long. They also became the first pair of teammates to both reach 30 home runs and 50 doubles in the same season. Although Vazquez wasn’t sitting in an MVP conversation, he quietly had one of the best seasons by a Red Sox catcher this decade. The backstop was able to bring offensive stability to a historically unstable position. Vazquez has 33 career home runs, and 23 of them have come this season.
This is a Red Sox team that is arguably one of the most talented teams in baseball. They brought back an almost identical roster from last year. However, merely possessing the pieces isn’t enough. The pieces also need to perform well, and that’s where the 2019 Boston Red Sox fell short. The team was able to gain ground at times but were never able to fully close the gap. The biggest example of this came in late July. The team went 6-2 over eight games approaching the trade deadline. However, after that stretch, they lost eight in a row heading into August.
As the sun sets on the regular season, Dave Dombrowski has been the first casualty. Dombrowski was successful in his time with Boston and he did what he was supposed to do — trade for solidified Major League talent and take them to the World Series. However, John Henry and the rest of ownership decided to move on from their President of Baseball Operations after Dombrowski began to pressure them about his role on the team.
Moving forward, the team needs to fill a different role. Their farm system needs to be replenished, which may come hand-in-hand with what the team decides to do with Mookie Betts. Betts has been noncommittal when it comes to his looming free agency. All signs are pointing to the idea of Betts moving on from the team, so it makes sense for the team to explore trade partners this offseason. If the team is going to target a haul of top-tier prospects, Dombrowski was not the guy to identify that talent.
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