It’s been a rough start to the 2019 season for the Boston Red Sox.
Photo Credit: San Francisco Chronicle
The first couple of games for the Red Sox have not gone quite according to script. As the defending World Series champions, the Sox have limped out of the gates to the tune of a 1-5 record and an underwhelming performance.
West coast struggles are a very real thing for traveling teams; however it is surprising at how drastic they’ve been. The Red Sox were outclassed by the Mariners in the opening series and have struggled with the up-and-coming Oakland Athletics thus far.
Let’s take a look at what’s working, and what may not be working for the Red Sox thus far.
Believe it, or not, there have been some solid performances for the Sox thus far.
It’s been more of the same for the AL MVP contender in 2019. Martinez is hitting a blazing .360 with 2 HR’s and 7 RBI’s in the young season. As always, there have been poor at-bats, but J.D. has been a source of optimism for Sox fans. To add to his stellar performance, he earned his 1,000th career hit while in Seattle.
The Red Sox Bullpen –
It is extremely early and labeling this unit anything other than a question mark would be premature; however they’ve been a pleasant surprise this season. As most are aware, the Red Sox failed to retain Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly during the offseason, but have pitched well to the tune of a 2.86 ERA thus far.
Matt Barnes dominated in his first save opportunity, while Ryan Brasier and others have showed the appearance of formidable setup options. This unit is an unfinished product, but has shown potential this season.
There have been plenty of dismal performances to begin this season, but we’ll handle the important storylines.
Starting Pitching –
Red Sox starters are 0-6 with a 9.00 ERA this season and while the two most recent performances are the best thus far, it’s been largely unimpressive. Rick Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi, and Eduardo Rodriguez were all utterly terrible and struggled with the long ball in their first outings of the season. David Price and Chris Sale have shown more in their outings, but still have yet to record a win and each gave up their share of homeruns.
The trend won’t continue, but my goodness has it been a source of struggles.
Rafael Devers‘ Defense –
There were storylines all offseason about how the young third baseman had cut down weight and improved his defensive prowess, but it’s been more of the same in 2019. Devers has shown flashes of his potential, but has committed three errors in six games. He made an impressive sliding stop last night, but has continued to be a question mark while in the field.
This category deals more with the record being a product of circumstances, not necessarily “issues.”
Spring Training Management
It’s been a hot topic throughout Red Sox circles, but it’s warranted criticism. Simply put, the Sox don’t look ready to play as a unit. The pitching staff has been routinely missing spots, while others simply don’t look ready. Manager Alex Cora has been excellent in Boston, but if this trend continues for multiple series’, it will become warranted criticism.
The Red Sox are hitting an abysmal .213 with RISP, which was on full display last night in Oakland. There have been men on base, but as a unit, they’ve struggled to capitalize on solid opportunities. Simply put, this is something that won’t continue; however it’s a contributing factor to early season struggles.
Additionally, Mookie Betts is hitting .222 which certainly won’t continue. Cora has been adjusting the lineup between Andrew Benintendi and Betts leading off, but as both settle into permanent positions, production will surely return.