The MLB regular season is over and it has been a long one, especially for Sox fans. They missed out on the playoffs and finished with an 84-78 record. This was not nearly what was expected out of them.
Everyone thought the Sox were going to start right where they left off, but that was not the case. Boston started their season off with an 11 game road trip on the west coast. They lost 8 of those 11 games. Then to cap that start off they lost their home opener, to the Blue Jays. This was just the start of the low points endured during the year.
The Sox did not attain a positive record until May 10. Yes, a little over a month into the season the Red Sox were finally breaking .500. After that, they stayed steady a little above that .500 mark, losing a ton of games that could have easily been won. We all know why those games could have been won.
Red Sox pitching was horrendous this year. It seemed like relievers and starters did their best to not win games. The bullpen had a very choppy year blowing 31 total saves. It was expected for the bullpen to do not as good this season because there were no moves made, but not as bad as they did. There wasn’t a set closer for the whole season either, so that probably had a little something to do with it. You can’t be throwing different guys in different situations over and over and expect them to perform well.
A positive that came from the bullpen was that Brandon Workman had a pretty awesome and surprising year. He had a 1.88 ERA and 10 saves. He might be a good option as the solidified closer for next year to avoid paying a big-name guy to save that money up for Mookie Betts.
The starters were also really bad this year, maybe even worse than the bullpen. Except for Eduardo Rodriguez of course. E-Rod led the Red Sox starters in ERA, wins, WHIP, batting average against, and innings pitched.
However, Chris Sale, David Price, Andrew Cashner, and Rick Porcello had a combined 5.10 ERA this year. That’s probably the most depressing stat of the season. Chris Sale and David Price both went out with injuries as well, so definitely not the best year for them.
I am sure most Sox fans are happy that Porcello is a free agent this year because boy did he stink. He had the worst year of his career this year with a 5.52 ERA.
Rick Porcello in “Break Your Moneymaker.” pic.twitter.com/SxpUxV2mIt— Red (@SurvivingGrady) August 1, 2019
Let’s not just look at the low lights of the season though. The Sox had a really good year on the offensive side. The Red Sox had statistically the fourth-best offense in the league. Isn’t that just so depressing? Having that good of an offense but not even making it to the playoffs.
The two that stood out the most this year were Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts. They may have been the best-left side of the infield in the league.
Bogaerts batted .309 with 33 home runs and 117 RBIs while Devers batted .311 with 32 home runs and 115 RBIs. Those are two monster years and hopefully, there are more to come. Bogaerts signed a seven-year extension with the Sox earlier this season and Devers is still under contract, but they should extend him ASAP.
As always, J.D. Martinez did well with the bat. He finished the season batting .306 with 36 home runs and 106 RBI’s. He has the option to opt-out this off season and that would be a huge hit to the Red Sox offense.
Another healthy surprise from the season was how well Christian Vazquez did at the plate. If there were a most improved player award he would probably win it. 2018: .207 (AVG) .283 (SLG) .540 (OPS) with 3 home runs and 16 RBIs, yikes. 2019: .276 (AVG) .477 (SLG) .798 (OPS) with 23 home runs and 72 RBIs. What a year he had. Maybe he’ll win comeback player of they year, but that usually goes to someone coming back from an injury/adversity.
A lot of Sox fans were saying Mookie Betts is having an off-year and that he wasn’t doing much, but that is just wrong. He had a great line of .295 (AVG), .524 (SLG), and .915 (OPS). He also led the league in runs scored which is what his main purpose was as a lead off batter, get on base and score runs. Mookie doesn’t deserve any slander at all.
Keeping both Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez is going to be really tough, but that is the Red Sox goal.
The Red Sox President of Operations David Dombrowski was fired a couple of weeks before the season ended. This was the right move. Dombrowski did his job in helping the Sox win another World Series, but he made some questionable moves with contracts that could end up costing them the cap room to sign Betts and keep Martinez. He also did nothing the whole year in trying to improve pitching.
One thing that got underlooked in the offseason was how bad Nathan Eovaldi’s contract was. I really do respect Eovaldi and loved his performance in the playoffs last year, but was he really worth $17 million/year for four years? No chance. He posted a 5.99 ERA this season coming out of the bullpen.
Another contract that might end up being bad is Chris Sale’s. The Sox signed him to an extension of five years $145 million. He will be 31 starting next season with lingering injuries. Sale needs to prove that he is still worth that contract next year.
And as for Alex Cora, he didn’t do the best job managing the team this year. It was a very hard season to go through, especially for the manager. It must have been very frustrating for Cora whenever there was a blown save because he probably thought it was always his fault when in reality the bullpen was just unreliable. There were times where he made disputable choices in-game and with the lineup, but he is a very smart guy and I think he learned from his mistakes.
Pitchers need to really step up next season, and if they can’t then management needs to make some significant moves because the offense needs support. I don’t really know what to expect from this upcoming off season. Hopefully the Sox figure it out and show that they are still a World Series contender.