The Season is Slipping Away, and the Red Sox Keep Sinking

Here we are five days into August, and the 2019 season is slipping away. After being swept by both the Rays and Yankees, the Red Sox keep sinking. They are 59-55, and 14.5 games out of first place. Even the chance to get the other Wild Card spot seems crazy at this point as well. Right now, they are six games out of the Wild Card spot.

They currently have lost eight straight games, something that hasn’t happened since theRed Sox Keep 2015 season, two seasons after they won the World Series in 2013. There is something wrong with this team, and fans are not happy about it. From the front office, to the players, something needs to change. We are closing in on the end of the season. One that people are going to want to forget.

The 2019 Season is Slipping Away With No End in Sight

Literally, there seems to be no end in sight for this season. The 2019 season was one that the Red Sox needed to defend in after winning in 2018. From Spring Training until now, the season is slipping away. Before we know it, the book will be closed on 2019, and the players, management and office staff will be on the golf course. It’s a sad reality, but unfortunately it’s true.

As the season slowly comes to a close, the Red Sox have one more series each with AL East opponents, starting with the Orioles. They are 28-31 against AL East opponents, and 31-24 against the other opponents. Practically every game since the start of the season in Seattle has been a struggle for Boston. Yes, starting off on the West Coast can be tough, but this team didn’t change much in the offseason. The only notable absences are that of Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly.

Also, unlike the Yankees and Astros, the team hasn’t had a real serious injury. Yes, Dustin Pedroia is out for the season, and players like Nathan Eovaldi and Steve Pearce have been on the injury list. However, the Yankees have played games without Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, and are 72-39. The Astros have gone without players like Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve, and are 73-40. What’s the Red Sox’s excuse then?

Red Sox Keep Sinking. So When Does Boston Surrender?

Or have they? From the pitching, to the offense, it seems like they have started to surrender the 2019 a while back. It’s a sad reality for a team that has so much talent on it. The one thing that hurt this team the most was the lack of support from the bullpen. So many games were lost due to the inconsistency of the relief pitchers.

It didn’t help that the bats weren’t awake during some of those games as well. For a team that won 108 regular season games last year, this team looks lost. With every loss, especially a close one, the season keeps slipping away.

I’m sure many of them were hoping for some help during the one and only trade deadline, but the front office didn’t make any trades. Now, all we can do is sit, and see what happens next. It has been a tough road for Red Sox Nation as the 2019 season is slipping away.

Coming Up Next For Boston

Rick Porcello gets the ball in game one of the three game set against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway. The Royals, who are 40-73, will be sending Mike Montgomery to the hill on Monday night. One bright spot for the Red Sox is that the Royals are without veteran catcher, Salvador Perez. The 29 year old had Tommy John surgery in March due to a partial tear of the UCL in his right elbow.

After the three game set against the Royals, Mike Trout and the Angels come to Fenway for four games. The Angels are 56-57 coming into Monday. Prior to playing the Red Sox, they will be playing against the Cincinnati Reds for two games at The Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.

Dustin Pedroia Could Win the Batting Title

Dustin Pedroia is still the beating heart of this Red Sox team. Sure, Mookie Betts is now the defining star, and David Ortiz will always be the ultimate hero. But nobody embodies the spirit and fight of Boston baseball quite like the scrappy second baseman. And with just under three weeks remaining, Pedey has a legitimate shot at becoming the American League batting champion, a fitting tribute to his remarkable resurgence.

Dustin Pedroia

Nowadays, batting average is sneered at. Led by statisticians, many people consider it an inferior metric for gauging performance. It’s too one-dimensional, they say. It only takes into account one skill, rather than four or five. In this age of Statcast, where every aspect of baseball is calculated and scrutinized, I understand the concern. Yet batting average remains one of the most instantly recognizable measurements of talent, if not the most accurate.

We’re all supposed to worship at the altar of Wins Above Replacement, but few casual fans even know how it’s calculated. WAR offers no concise moment of greatness, such as when a hitter slugs his 500th career home run or notches his 3,000th hit. So, to me, batting average and other traditional numbers still have a pretty special place in the game, even if their utility has been surpassed by newer, sexier metrics.

The Resurgence of Dustin Pedroia

Therefore, what Dustin Pedroia is doing fascinates me. At 33, the ultimate grinder is having one of his best ever seasons. Pedroia has a .332/.391/.465 slash line with 13 home runs, 34 doubles and 66 RBI. Judging by OPS, a catch-all stat for offensive performance, this is his best campaign since 2011. In terms of WAR, it’s already his best since 2013, with eighteen games remaining. When all is said and done, Dustin Pedroia may not receive MVP consideration, but his importance to the Red Sox cannot be overstated.

Numbers simply don’t do the guy justice. However, one number, that .332 batting average, is particularly intriguing. Right now, only Jose Altuve, the Houston Astros’ hitting machine, has a higher average in the American League. Altuve presently sits at .340, making for a tight race and interesting subplot in the final weeks of an enthralling season.

In Pursuit of History

Bill Mueller was the last Red Sox player to win a batting title. The third baseman did so with a .326 mark in 2003. It may be difficult for Dustin Pedroia to haul back an eight-point disadvantage this late in the season and follow in Mueller’s footsteps, but stranger things have happened. All it takes is for one hot streak to coincide with a rare skid for Altuve, and one of the greatest players in Red Sox history would add another historic achievement to his resume.

While the batting title may have lost some of its prestige, there’s still a certain charm to its history. It’s one of the oldest awards in the game, one that Ty Cobb lusted after so violently in a different age. For that reason, that sense of tradition, we should root for Dustin Pedroia to win the batting crown. I can hardly think of a more deserving recipient.

The Search For Xander Bogaerts

After a scorching start to the 2016 season, Xander Bogaerts has hit a rut. Though the humidity has run rampant through Boston lately, Bogaerts has experienced a rather cold summer at the plate.

In May and June, Bogaerts looked like a serious MVP candidate, if not a favorite along with BogaertsDavid Ortiz. Bogaerts hit .395 in May and and .324 in June. Also, those two months provided 40 of his 69 RBI this season. During that time, his average reached into the .350s and he was battling Jose Altuve for the league lead in that category. Since then, Xander’s production has plummeted.

Bogaerts Since The All-Star Break

Since Bogaerts was selected to his first All-Star game in San Diego last month, his season has taken a turn for the worse. Since the break, he has batted just .271 and has only four doubles and 13 RBI in 140 at-bats. That has brought his average all the way down to .310. Also, in his last 15 games he is hitting a measly .238 with an  OBP of .269.

In all seriousness, most guys would still love to have the numbers Bogaerts has this year. That is not what I am trying to say. He is still a tremendous talent and among the league’s best shortstops. But during this recent hot streak the Red Sox appar to be on, Xander has not been able to be a major contributor. In high leverage situations he has struggled and has made a habit at lunging at pitches and popping up constantly.

The Red Sox have tried a multitude of methods to try and get Bogaerts back to his former self. He has had a few days off, which he did deserve. The hitting instructors have also worked meticulously with him to fix his swing. So far, we are still waiting on the guy we saw the first half of the season. There is little doubt that his star will shine again, but it remains to be seen whether he will get his swing back in time to help his team make the postseason.