The 2019 Boston Red Sox. Where do I begin?

Well, it’s been a busy summer. The Sox have both won and lost games in spectacular fashion. They’ve gained some players, lost some players, worried for a franchise legend, and witnessed growth throughout a lineup that’s almost completely new from that of last season. Let’s get into it.

As an angry Boston fan who expected more from a Word Series Championship team, it pains me to point out the Red Sox are currently third in the American League East Division behind the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays (ugh). If someone had told me these would be the standings this season, I wouldn’t have believed it. I mean, this is the Boston Red Sox we’re talking about (and, this is also Tampa Bay we’re talking about!)Just a season ago, the Sox had the winningest record in franchise history.

So the team’s performance has been a bit disappointing, but I—and probably other Red Sox fans as well—have come to terms with it. I choose to focus on the positives.

For one, Rafael Devers has become the player Boston’s farm system always knew he could. I’m hoping this isn’t a jinx, but he’s been absolutely red-hot both at the plate and at third base. Devers currently leads the Red Sox in batting average (.332) hits (167) and RBI’s (101) which just happens to be the most RBI’s in the league as of today. The statistics speak for themselves—Devers is playing phenomenal baseball.

Another player who’s been having a stellar season is the previously-mentioned Shortstop, Xander Bogaerts. I would argue he is without a doubt becoming one of the best Shortstops in the league. Every time he comes in clutch with a hit or cranks a bomb over the Green Monster, I’m even more happy that the Sox locked him up for the coming six years. Like Devers, he’s a player who can be relied on.

Similarly, the Red Sox Catcher slash part-time First Baseman Christian Vasquez has been having the best season of his career. Looking at previous statistics, I saw that he hit just three home runs during the 2018 season. That seems almost unbelievable based on how he’s been performing this year. Vasquez has already hit a career-high 18 home runs; practically every column shows improvement. I can’t help but feel a bit proud. He’s grown into an integral player the Red Sox want to have in their lineup as often as possible, which didn’t seem to be the case last season.

Now that I’ve touched on the high points in the season, it’s time to switch gears.

Chris Sale in 2018 and Chris Sale in 2019—two different men if you ask me. We’ve seen 2018 Chris Sale briefly this season. He would sometimes make an appearance and my mom would say “that’s the Sale we remember!” but mostly we would be seeing 2019 Chris Sale on the mound. I’ll say it: He flat-out is just not as good as he was last year. The comfort in knowing he was a game’s Starting Pitcher is gone.

To make matters worse, I got an ESPN notification today that Sale is “out for remainder of regular season after receiving PRP injection in elbow.” If you’re like me, after reading that you were like alright, whatever that means! According to ESPN Writer Marly Rivera, the Red Sox announced that “Sale has inflammation in his left elbow and treated it with a platelet-rich plasma injection.” So, if that means anything to anyone, there you go. Basically, Sale’s most likely done for 2019 after having a mediocre season, though he did pass Pedro Martinez as fastest pitcher in history to reach 2,000 strikeouts, which is not to be overlooked.

Putting the current players aside, I have to mention some of the drama that has happened with some beloved Red Sox players of the past (and kind of present, kind of).

First, there was a scare in early June concerning Red Sox legend, David “Big Papi” Ortiz. ESPN reported, “Ortiz was shot in the back at a Santo Domingo nightclub June 9 by a hit man who police said was supposed to be targeting a different man.” In my Ortiz-loving household, we were all shocked and scared for Big Papi. ESPN wrote, “Ortiz was brought to Boston the next day and needed three operations before he was released.” I’ll never forget the picture Ortiz posted on his Instagram of a steak, the caption telling how he was finally home safe and recovering. Thank goodness.

The other player I wanted to bring up was Dustin Pedroia. Once the face of the Red Sox, being the veteran in the clubhouse full of young newbies, Pedroia hasn’t seen the field in quite a long time. He tried to make a comeback, which in my opinion was a mistake. He’s now taking time to recover from surgery setbacks and it’s questionable whether he’ll return to a baseball field. It’s sad, yes, but I think it doesn’t have to all be sad for “Laser Show.” Though Pedroia may not be able to help the Sox out at Second Base, he could take up a position on Boston’s coaching staff. I mean, he’s been in the clubhouse all this time, no doubt giving players tips and tricks, sharing his veteran knowledge without the title of Coach. I think the Sox should keep him around, because having a man with three rings in the clubhouse can’t hurt.

As of right this second, a postseason run does not appear to be within Boston’s scope. Once in the Wildcard conversation, the Sox have probably fallen too far behind to see any play in October, though I’m not one to lose faith. Our offense has proved how it can perform, Ortiz is recovering, we’ve won our last five games—things are looking up. Go Sox!