As the Red Sox started the 2019 season with a 3-10 record, their chances of making the postseason dropped drastically. People dubbed 2019 as a World Series hangover. It sure wasn’t helpful that all 13 games were part of a season opening West Coast road trip. Or that the starters threw a limited amount of innings in Spring Training. There was also the fact that, throughout this road trip, Red Sox starters had a cumulative ERA of approximately 10.28. The offense was very faulty as they averaged 3.53 runs per game in their first 13 games. Inconsistency also bore it’s nasty head when the offense scored at least 5 runs on 5 different occasions during the same 13 games, and also scored 0 runs on two separate occasions. So how did that team turn into a plus .500 team, with the potential for more, on June 4th?
Why there’s still hope for the postseason
After the hot start the Sox had in the 2018 season, it’s hard to suffer through a slow one this year. But as we approach the All Star break, the offensive statistics from 2019 closely resemble the same stats from 2018. The offense has more recently found its footing, and new stars have emerged to pick up the slack. It will be difficult to even try to replicate last year without an MVP caliber player such as Mookie Betts, but Rafael Devers has done his best to resemble such. In 2019, Devers has slashed .316/.372/.498, and in May was named player of the month where he possessed a 1.020 OPS and hit 8 home runs.
Similar to the offense, the starting staff has worked through the rough start to the year, and are beginning to look like the rotation we have become accustomed to as of late. Finally, all (regular) starters now have ERA’s south of 5.50. Also, the team as a whole has the second most K’s in the league this year with 573.
Another important factor in the postseason chances of this Red Sox team is the bullpen. The bullpen possess no traditional closer, and the Sox have nine blown saves in 2019. In the entirety of 2018, Craig Kimbrel had a total five blown saves. Sadly, inconsistency has been the story of 2019 for Red Sox relievers. Every night you don’t know which version of a player you’re getting when they emerge from the ‘pen. You could be getting the Matt Barnes that strikes out every player that comes to the plate. Or you could be getting the Matt Barnes that can’t locate the strike zone. So far, it seems crucial that Dave Dombrowski admits his mistakes and finds the missing piece to make this bullpen whole. With a decrepit farm system that possess little trade value, the hunt for a late inning reliever will be hard.
In order for the Red Sox to be able to clinch a spot in the postseason, consistency will be key. If the offense can consistently score a comfortable amount of runs, and the bullpen can consistently take advantage of save opportunities, it is very likely that the Sox will find themselves back in the promise land.