Should We Be Worried About The Red Sox Struggles?

With last night’s 9-1 loss to the New York Yankees, the Red Sox have lost their last three series. They are now 6-7 in the month of July. The Red Sox have been outscored 47-35 in their last three series and have a record of 3-6 in those games. These numbers certainly raise some eyebrows, but should we be worried about the Red Sox struggles?

Boston Red Sox's bats go quiet in 9-1 loss to Yankees; team has now lost 6  of last 8 games, last 3 series - masslive.com

In short, no we shouldn’t. Prior to going on this mini skid the Red Sox won eight games in a row. The MLB season is 162 games long, so the team is bound to face some adversity over the course of the season. Boston really hasn’t faced any adversity since the opening series against the Baltimore Orioles.

Red Sox Have Plenty Of Chances To Build Division Lead

Relax, The Red Sox still sit on top of the AL East. They also have one of the best records in baseball. With that being said, the Red Sox will need to turn their recent misfortunes around if they want to remain at the top of the AL East. 

The Red Sox also have plenty of opportunities to prove why they are the best team in the AL East. Boston will play AL East teams in 26 out of their next 29 games. Though only three of those games will be against the Tampa Bay Rays, who sit just a half game behind the Red Sox for the division lead, the Red Sox will have opportunities to narrow the race to just them and the Rays. The Red Sox will also see the Rays seven times between August 30th and September 8.

In such a long season, it is inevitable that a team drops a few games. For the Red Sox, the schedule is luckily in their favor for division play. The Sox will have their first test tonight, as they take on the Toronto Blue Jays in Buffalo.

One More Thing…

All though this article wasn’t necessarily about the Red Sox and Yankees most recent series in New York, I feel this has to be mentioned. The way the fans in Yankees stadium behaved throughout the course of this series was completely unacceptable. First with throwing a ball at Alex Verdugo, then delaying the game by shinning a light in the batter’s eye, then spitting on Jason Varitek’s daughter? Jason Varitek’s daughter is nine years old, and was spit on for wearing her father’s jersey, which is absolutely disgusting.

Heckling at opposing fans is one thing but to throw a baseball at player, and to spit on a nine year is another. These are criminal offenses happening at Yankee’s stadium. It feels like this kind of stuff happens too much at Yankee’s stadium to brush it under the rug. The events from this past series are just another reminder of ignorant their fan base can be.

Ranking The Top 5 2020 Acquisitions For The Red Sox

The Red Sox made plenty of moves this off-season after finishing with one of the worst records in baseball last season. But which acquisition was the best? Here are the Top 5 2020 acquisitions for the Red Sox.

1.) Hunter Renfroe

Had Hunter Renfroe found his swing earlier in the season, he would certainly be in consideration for the All Star game. Since May 1st, Renfroe is hitting .307 with an OPS of .910, and has 33 RBIs and 10 home runs. Renfroe, who was a Gold Glove finalist in 2019, is looking like he deserves Gold Glove recognition again this season. He has been a key piece for the Red Sox offensively and defensively, and best of all… he’s only a $3M deal and will not be an Unrestricted Free Agent until 2024 due to arbitration. Renfroe is still only 29 and is on track to post his best season statistically this year. Given the contract Renfroe is currently on, and the impact he had on the Sox this season, Renfroe was a steal.

2.) Garrett Whitlock

The Red Sox selected Whitlock in the Rule 5 Draft last December. Whitlock was a prospect in the Yankees’ organization, and coming off Tommy John Surgery when the Red Sox selected him. The 6″5 right hander is just 25 years old and has posted some impressive numbers this season. In 38 innings pitched, Whitlock has allowed just six earned runs, while posting a 1.42 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. Whitlock is also 3-1 on the season with 40 strikeouts.

For a majority of the beginning of the season, Whitlock only pitched every four or five days as he eased his way back from Tommy John Surgery, now we are starting to see him more often. The rookie is only making $570,500 this and will be due for a new contract next season, but the Red Sox could have a star on their hands with Whitlock.

3.) Christian Arroyo

Yes, Christian Arroyo was claimed in August of 2020, but he only appeared in 14 games. Number three may seem a little high for Christian Arroyo, but the Red Sox could finally have an every day second baseman, something they have been looking for since 2017. The Red Sox have had a hole at second base ever since Manny Machado slid into Dustin Pedroia that ultimately ended his career. Guys like Eduardo Nunez, Ian Kinsler, Brock Holt, Marco Hernandez, Jose Peraza, and Jonathan Arauz have had their chances but nobody has been able to hold the position.

Christian Arroyo is just 26 years old, and will not be an Unrestricted Free Agent until 2025 due to arbitration. In 41 games this season, Arroyo is batting .264 with an OPS of .756. Arroyo has also stepped up big for the Red Sox late in games multiple times this season, most notably his go-ahead pinch hit grand slam against the Braves. Arroyo’s age, and the potential he provides to the second base position is why I have him checking in at number three.

4.) Hirokazu Sawamura

Hirokazu Sawamura was probably the guy most Sox fans knew the least about, but he has provided a huge boost to a bullpen that desperately needed it. Sawamura spent 10 seasons in Japan before signing with the Red Sox on a two-year $3M contract that keeps him the team until 2024. In 30 appearances this season, the 33 year old righty has posted a 4-0 record, with 2.56 ERA, a 1.33 WHIP, allowing just nine earned runs and has punched out 40. Sawamura has also only allowed nine earned runs this season. Sawamura has been a key piece in a Red Sox bullpen that has been very impressive this season.

5.) Adam Ottavino

After a rocky start to the 2021 season, Adam Ottavino has found his stride. Ottavino has been another great addition to a bullpen that needed a lot of work. He has stepped up big as the eighth inning guy for in the Sox bullpen this season, posting a 2.73 ERA, a 1.30 WHIP, with 39 strikeouts and five saves in 36 appearances this season. Ottavino has also allowed just 10 earned runs and has posted 2-2 record on the season.

The Red Sox acquired 10 year veteran Adam Ottavino in a trade with the Yankees, where he signed a three-year $27M contract in 2019. He will be paid $9M this season by the Red Sox. Which is the seventh highest cap hit on their current payroll, before he becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent next season. The Red Sox will have to come to terms with Ottavino as they will most likely look to resign him for the 2022 season. Because of the potential risk with Ottavino being a UFA this season, I have him at number five.

Biggest Problems From The Red Sox, Rays Series

With Thursday’s 1-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays the Red Sox now sit a half game behind the Rays in the AL East. Despite six and two-thirds no hit innings from Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta, the Red Sox were unable to get the win and ended up losing the series 2-1.  Throughout the course of this crucial AL East series, the Red Sox showed that they still have a lot to clean up. 

Base Running

Base running for the Red Sox has not been great this season, and this was on display again this series. Key base running errors late in games proved to be costly for the Boston Red Sox. Most notably in the seventh inning of Thursday night’s game with Hunter Renfroe being thrown out at the plate.

What Happened?

With just one out in the inning and Renfroe on second, Christian Vazquez hit the ball over the head of Rays shortstop Wander Franco. The ball rolled into left-center field where it was picked up by Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier. Renfroe had a bad jump on the ball rounding second and was thrown out at the plate by Kiermaier. Had Renfroe held at third, the Red Sox would’ve had runners on first and second with just one out. Instead there were two outs, and Vazquez ended up getting picked off at second base. 

The Red Sox were thrown at home twice this series, Hunter Renfroe once, and Bobby Dalbec once. They were also caught trying to steal three times in this series. The Red Sox base running hurt their offense’s ability to score and they paid for it, especially on Thursday. 

First Base-

The lack of production from the first base position continues to be a problem for the Boston Red Sox. 

Tuesday- Bobby Dalbec 0-5 with a fly out and four strikeouts.  He was also thrown out at home due to a bad base running decision. 

Wednesday- Bobby Dalbec was 0-3 with three strikeouts and a walk. 

Thursday- Bobby Dalbec was 0-2 with two strikeouts, before he was replaced by Marwin Gonzalez. Michael Chavis was then moved to first base and he finished 0-3 with two strikeouts and a ground out. 

In total, that is 11 strikeouts in three games for Red Sox first baseman. The Red Sox continue to get little to no production from their first basemen, which was on full display this series. This may be something Chaim Bloom needs to address before the July 30th trade deadline. 

Lead off- 

Much like the first base position, the leadoff spot has also been a lingering problem for the Boston Red Sox. 

Tuesday-  Danny Santana 1-4 with a walk and a strikeout. 

Wednesday- Danny Santana 0-5 with three strikeouts. 

Thursday- Michael Chavis 0-3 with a walk and two strikeouts 

It was interesting to see Alex Cora having Danny Santana bat lead off with Kike Hernandez healthy. Santana has just .123 batting average and Kike has seen a lot from the lead off position this season. When Christian Arroyo is off the 10 Day DL, Chavis will likely be sent down and the lead off position will be between Arroyo and Hernandez. Regardless of who has been leading off for the Sox, it has not been good, and this series was another harsh reminder.

Garrett Richards

Garrett Richards seems to be the only pitcher on the Red Sox staff affected by the MLB’s crackdown on sticky substances. Richards’ spin rate has been way down since the crackdown and he was unable to get out out of the second inning on Wednesday night. Richards threw just an inning and two-thirds finishing with four earned runs, three hits allowed, and four walked batters. He also threw 54 pitches, and of those 54 pitches, only 28 of them were strikes.

This was Richards’ second start since the MLB announced they would be cracking down on pitchers using foreign substances, with his last start coming June 16th against the Braves. In that start, Richards threw just four innings allowing seven hits, four earned runs, and walking one batter.

Red Sox Reveal Major Flaws in Ugly Series with Rangers

After winning both games in a quick two-game series with the New York Mets, the Red Sox revealed some major flaws in an ugly series with the Texas Rangers. 

The Red Sox lost three out of the four games in the series against the Rangers including what might have been their worst loss of the season on Sunday afternoon. 

After a meltdown in the bottom of the 8th inning, the Red Sox revealed their biggest weakness, the bullpen. 

The starters for the Red Sox have struggled to give long outings, forcing manager Alex Cora to get creative with a weak bullpen. Having to manage a bullpen with guys like Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez, Austin Brice, and a struggling Adam Ottavino is not ideal. 

The biggest problem for the Red Sox bullpen is they struggle to hit the strike zone, leading to walks. This was on full display Sunday afternoon against the Rangers. 

What Happened Sunday?

Adam Ottavino opened up the bottom of the 8th pitching for the Red Sox. Ottavino walked the first batter he saw, got two quick outs, then allowed a single into left, allowing the walked batter to score. Ottavino then walked another batter before he was pulled for Matt Barnes.

But Wait, There’s More

The Red Sox bullpen is not the only flaw that was exposed in their last series. The lack of production from the back of the Red Sox batting order also contributed to the struggles. 

The six, seven, eight, and nine batters for the Red Sox have struggled mightily this season, putting additional pressure on the top and middle of the order.

The batting averages tell the story.

Marwin Gonzalez – .189 

Hunter Renfroe- .191

Franchy Cordero- .158

Bobby Dalbec- .200

Luckily for the Red Sox, it’s a long season. But in what’s shaping up to be a very tight AL East race, every game matters. Especially against struggling teams like the Rangers. 

The Red Sox will look to bounce back and regain momentum in a three-game home series against the 8-21 Detroit Tigers. 

There Will Be Baseball in 2020

Baseball fans rejoice, there will be baseball in 2020! After about three months of no baseball, the MLB and the MLBPA have reached an agreement to play in 2020. I know, I didn’t think this day would come, but here we are. Many players are making their way to their respective cities right now in anticipation of the season. July 1st is the official date to start training camp, and from there, we have Opening Day at the end of July. It’s been a crazy year so far, so let the games begin – On July 23rd.

The bad news for fans, however, is that they will not be in the stands at any of the Majorbaseball in 2020 League ballparks in 2020. Yes, that includes Fenway Park. For fans who were looking forward to seeing the Red Sox play at Fenway or at an away game, you’re going to have to either watch it on NESN, or listen to the radio. Due to COVID-19, MLB and other professional sports aren’t allowing spectators at games until further notice.

Baseball in 2020

It’s hard to believe that baseball in 2020 is going to happen, but it is. After what seemed to be a lifetime of negotiations, there will be a season. MLB announced this week that Opening Day will be on July 23rd, with training camps starting July 1st. To make things easy for teams, MLB is setting up the schedule geographically. For the Red Sox, they will be playing against both the American League East, and the National League East. The same will go for teams in the Central Divisions and in the Western Divisions.

MLB proposed this idea to limit team travel in hopes that the season will be completed without interruptions. Teams will start off with thirty players, then go down to 28 players after fifteen days. Two weeks later, teams will be set at their normal roster number, 26. Baseball in 2020 will not have an All Star game, sorry Los Angeles. However, the trade deadline will be on August 31st. It will be interesting to see how the season plays out, especially with teams playing within their own divisions, and a designated hitter in both the National and American Leagues.

How Will The Red Sox Do in 2020

That’s the big question many Red Sox fans are asking. After a crazy offseason, the Red Sox have a lot to prove to their fan base. There will be some new faces coming to town, like pitcher Martin Perez and outfielder Kevin Pillar. There will also be some familiar faces coming back to town, like Mitch Moreland, who resigned with the Red Sox this past offseason.

General Manager Chaim Bloom stated that both Alex Verdugo and Collin McHugh are expected to play this season. Verdugo, who was part of the Mookie Betts trade, is recovering from a stress fracture in his back. McHugh, who the Red Sox signed as a free agent in March, is recovering from a flexor tendon strain that he sustained in 2019.

As for Chris Sale, he will not be pitching this season. Shortly after the season was halted to to COVID-19, it was announced that Sale was getting Tommy John surgery, and will not be pitching again until at least 2021. Lucky for the Red Sox, they have some pitchers who are looking to make a name for themselves in Boston, and a few who are looking to improve upon their 2019 season.

Eduardo Rodriguez, who went 19-6 with a 3.81 ERA in 2019, is looking to improve in 2020. Manager Ron Roenicke has yet to name his Opening Day starter, but odds are that Rodriguez will get the call. Catchers Kevin Plawecki and Jonathan Lucroy, who came to Boston via free agency, will be competing for the backup role at catcher behind Christian Vazquez. Both veteran catchers signed one year deals with the Red Sox this past offseason.

Around The MLB

A lot has happened since Spring Training was stopped due to COVID-19. Many fans didn’t think that baseball in 2020 would happen. However, here we are. Fans are used to a 162 game season, however, due to negotiations, the fans, players, and MLB are at a 60 game season instead. A lot can happen in 60 games. For the Red Sox, they were 31-29 in their first 60 games in 2019. In order to get to the postseason this year, they’re going to have to do way better than that.

Both the American League East and the National League East will be a challenge for the Red Sox. Not only are they facing their usual rivals like the Yankees, but the’re facing the 2019 World Series Champion Washington Nationals. Going into the 2019 season, the Nationals were not the favorite to win the World Series. Their first 60 games had them at a record of 27-33. They finished with a 93-69 record, and were second in their division.

Each team, and each division is going to have their set of struggles and triumphs this season. Each team in each division is going to have their ups and downs. For some, it’s getting used to the universal designated hitter rule, while for others, it’s figuring out the best lineup to have for each game. While fans won’t have to worry about 10pm games, many will wonder how this season will affect the 2021 season and beyond. Only time can tell that. For now, we have baseball in 2020, which is pretty remarkable.

Brock Holt Left a Lasting Impact in Boston

Over a week ago, fan-favorite Brock Holt traded in his red socks for the navy blue attire of the Milwaukee Brewers. Holt signed a 1-year deal worth $3.25 million to join the brew crew, as Sox management never really made an attempt to bring Holt back to the team. Nevertheless, Brock Holt left a lasting impact on Boston. One that will not be filled for a long time.

Fans all over New England were irate over the deal, as one of the most beloved players on the Sox was

brock holt left

now out of town for a contract that Boston could have easily offered. Regardless of what colors he wears this season, Brock Holt’s impact on the Red Sox and the city of Boston will never be forgotten by Sox fans. Brock Holt left his mark.

“The Utility Guy”

When Holt first came to Boston, no one really batted an eye at the guy. Of course, the Red Sox were in the middle of a championship season, and Brock seemed like just another ordinary guy. A player that would probably flip flop from the MLB and the minors and never find a real gig full time in the league. But after 2013, Holt’s game emerged onto the scene. Boston might have been playing poor baseball in those years, but it gave Holt a chance to shine. He stayed with the big league club for the whole season and even made the All-Star Game in 2015. What was appealing about Brock’s game is his versatility. He could play anywhere on the diamond and swung a pretty solid bat to go along with it. Suddenly, this utility guy from Pittsburgh looked to be a key piece of the rebuilding Red Sox.

Brock Holt Left an Impact Off the Field Too

As Holt’s impact started to become evident on the field, his impact off the field was just as strong. Brock was one of the regulars when it came to helping the community. Whether it was visiting kids in the hospital or helping out with charities like the Jimmy Fund, Holt quickly became immersed in the Boston community. Brock was also a clubhouse favorite, as it seemed there wasn’t even one player that he didn’t get along with. From being a new face in 2013 to a 2018 World Champion, he hadn’t let his success get to his head.

Iconic Moments

As Holt’s success began during the Sox down years, he finally got a chance to shine on the bigger stage with the Sox championship run in 2018. While the Sox lineup was stacked with talent, Brock still got a lot of at-bats and he made them count. Plenty of moments come to mind, but everyone knows which one is #1. Holt’s cycle against the Yankees in the ALDS made history as he completed the first cycle in playoff history. It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for the Sox as that dominant Game 3 win propelled them to a series victory. His cycle, along with his clutch hits in the World Series, will be Red Sox moments that fans today won’t forget.

The situation of why Boston didn’t make an effort to bring Brock back will remain questioned. However, it will not take away from Holt’s time in a Sox uniform.

Thank you Brock, and good luck in Milwaukee.