Looking Ahead With 2020 Vision

After Mookie Betts slid into home at Fenway Park last Sunday night, the Red Sox season was over in walk off fashion. After losing two games to the Orioles, the Red Sox walked it off on Sunday in what might have been the final game for many of its players. Now, the Red Sox looking ahead to the 2020 season. After this year’s World Series, the Red Sox have a lot of work to do. First, they need to find a replacement for Dave Dombrowski. Then, they need to figure out who’s staying, coming, going, and coming back.

Many fans know how an offseason like this begins and ends. We’ve seen it in the past. Bylooking ahead the time 2020 rolls around, the Red Sox will be ready to go. The question is though, what will the roster look like? Will players like Brock Holt and Mitch Moreland resign with the Red Sox? Will they trade Mookie Betts? And what does the future hold for J.D. Martinez. The Red Sox will be looking ahead to next season, and will try and build for the future at the same time this offseason.

Looking Ahead With 2020 In Sight

After making it to the postseason for the past three seasons, the Red Sox fell short in 2019. Now, they are looking ahead to 2020. The first thing that needs to be done is getting a replacement for Dave Dombrowski. During the loss to the Yankees on September 8th, the Red Sox fired Dombrowski in a move that shocked fans. It was only a matter of time, but the timing was, and still is, questionable.

Many Red Sox players may have played their final games last week. Rick Porcello, Brock Holt and Mitch Moreland are all free agents this offseason. Steve Pearce is a free agent as well, but is contemplating retirement. Another name to look out for is J.D. Martinez. When he signed his five year contract prior to the 2018 season, there were opt-out clauses placed in there. One of those is for this offseason.

Looking ahead, the Red Sox would probably like to keep all those guys mentioned above. They also need to work on rebuilding their farm system as well. Sadly, this may come in the form of a trade. There are many big name free agents that’ll be on the market this offseason as well, such as Gerrit Cole, Madison Bumgarner, and Cole Hamels. Only time will tell how the Red Sox will look in 2020, however, the madness begins once the final out of the World Series is made.

Key Games in 2020

The Red Sox will be opening the 2020 season on the road against the Toronto Blue Jays from March 26th to March 29th. From there, they head to Baltimore to play the Orioles from March 30th to April 1st. The Red Sox’s home opener will be on April 2nd against the Chicago White Sox. So far, this schedule is better than the 2019 one, where they played in Seattle, Oakland, and Arizona to start off the season.

Looking ahead, the Red Sox have seven interleague series this year. They play the Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Saint Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds at home. They also play away games against the Braves, Reds, and the Chicago Cubs. Unlike in previous seasons, they will not be playing the Philadelphia Phillies.

In May, the Red Sox will be playing a three game series at the new Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. They will also be playing the Yankees in New York in the second weekend of May. This year’s All Star Game, which will be held at Dodgers Stadium, is scheduled for July 14th. Just like in 2019, the Red Sox will be closing out the season at home against the Orioles.

How To Be Successful in 2020

With the postseason in full swing, one can only wonder if the Red Sox have what it takes to make it in 2020. Looking ahead, they need help in the bullpen, and the rotation, that was obvious this season. They also need to figure out how to stay under the luxury tax, and not overpay players like they have in the past. Examples of this include Pablo Sandoval, Carl Crawford and Hanley Ramirez.

This past week, many organizations are reworking the clubhouse. Teams like the Mets and Angels have let go of their managers. Others, like the Red Sox, have let go of coaches. The Red Sox announced earlier this week that assistant hitting coach, Andy Barkett, will not be back in 2020. Over the course of the next few days, we may see even more changes happening in Boston.

For now, Red Sox Nation is on pause until after the World Series. Then, and only then, will we know what the 2020 Red Sox will look like. It’s going to be a long waiting game until the end of October and a new champion is crowned. However, before we know it, Spring Training will be here.

The Roller Coaster Ends At Fenway

After going 2-4 on the road trip, the roller coaster ends at Fenway Park. The Red Sox play their final series against the Orioles at home one last time in 2019. At 83-76, this season has been an up and down roller coaster since the beginning. Now, with no postseason, the team is looking to make something of the remaining three games.

Once the final play is made Sunday night, the Red Sox season will be over, and the postseason will begin. Many players on the Red Sox roster may not be in the Boston eduardo rodriguezclubhouse when the 2020 season begins. These next few months will be a strange one for Red Sox Nation, as we see other teams fight for the title of World Series Champions.

The Orioles vs Red Sox Matchup

The final home stand will feature three games. The first game will have Asher Wojciechowski up against Nathan Eovaldi. Last time Wojciechowski faced the Red Sox was back on August 17th. He went 4.1 innings, allowing two runs off of five hits and took the loss in the game. As for Eovaldi, he last pitched against the Orioles on August 18th in his first start since April. He only went two innings, allowing five runs off of three hits.

The second game will feature John Means against Jhoulys Chacin. Last time Means pitched against Boston was back on July 19th. He got the win in the game, going six innings, allowing two runs off of four hits. The Orioles have yet to see Chacin pitch this season. For Chacin, this will be his fifth start for the Red Sox, and he is looking for his fourth win of 2019.

The final game on Sunday will have a player to be named later up against Red Sox ace Eduardo Rodriguez. The Orioles have yet to name a starter in the season finale. The Red Sox will be sending Rodriguez to face his former team one last time in 2019. Rodriguez, who will be looking for win number 20 of the season, last pitched against Baltimore on August 17th., in which he earned the win. He went 7.1 innings in the game, and allowed only four hits.

Will There Be Any Final Farewells?

After the last out on Sunday, many Red Sox players will be free agents. Mitch Moreland, Brock Holt, and a few others may be playing their final games at Fenway Park this weekend. For Rick Porcello, he may have pitched his final game on Wednesday night against the Rangers, in which he picked up his 14th win of 2019.

Another potential free agent is JD Martinez. Sox fans may be wondering why he would be. Well, his contract is set up so he can opt out after this season, as well as next season. If he opts out this offseason, he has a $2.5 million buyout. After this roller coaster of a season, he may test the free agency market again.

Another player is Steve Pearce. Following a great run last season, Dombrowski signed him to a one year deal. Pearce has spent the majority of 2019 on the injury list. The life long Red Sox fan was limited to 29 games this season, with a .180 batting average and only one home run. Last time he played was May 31st against the Yankees.

What a Roller Coaster of a 2019 Season

After winning 108 regular season games, the Red Sox went into 2019 hoping to repeat as World Series Champions. Unfortunately, 2019 didn’t go as planned. Even before the regular season began, there were many questions surrounding the team. The biggest question was the bullpen. We all know how that was answered, or unanswered. The roller coaster kept going into the regular season, as the team headed out to the West Coast, dropping key games against the Mariners, A’s and Diamondbacks.

From there, the ride saw some ups, and some downs. We saw players like Eduardo Nunez leave the team, and we witnessed Dave Dombrowski being let go not too long ago. There were injuries, there were games we should’ve won. The one constant though, is that the fan base was there for the team, no matter what. Now, we have one final series before calling it a season. Then, it’s onto 2020.

The Dodgers Return to Fenway for a World Series Rematch

The last time we saw the Dodgers was game five of the World Series in Los Angeles. It is a game many in Red Sox Nation will never forget. From the stellar performance by David Price, to Steve Pearce’s home run, one of many. Oh, and my personal favorite, when Chris Sale struck out Manny Machado to win it all. Now, here we are, nine months later for the World Series rematch.

While Boston is looking to climb higher in the American League East, the Dodgers areworld series rematch looking to continue their success this season. The Dodgers, who are 60-32 in the National League West, are looking to not only seek revenge on the Red Sox, but look to return to the spotlight in October.

A Highly Anticipated World Series Rematch

As mentioned above, the last time we saw the Dodgers was back in the World Series. October 28th to be exact. While the Red Sox ultimately won it all on the West Coast in game five, you would have thought that they were playing in Boston. The Fenway Faithful came out in full support of the Red Sox that night, and for the parade that followed.

The match up was perfect in every sense. From Alex Cora managing a team in his rookie year, to Dave Roberts managing in Dodger blue, every game was critical. Now, here we are, about to embark on a three game set at Fenway Park. Though it’s not October, it will have an October feel like never before.

Game one will feature Eduardo Rodriguez going up against Kenta Maeda. Rodriguez will be looking for win number ten on the season. The last time Rodriguez faced the Dodgers was at Dodger Stadium in game four. In that start, he went 5.2 innings, allowing four runs, including a home run to Yasiel Puig. Maeda also pitched in that game, going 1/3 of an inning allowing one run on two hits.

Game two will feature Chris Sale vs Ross Stripling, while the finale will feature David Price vs Hyun-Jin Ryu. All three of these games are critical to the Red Sox as they get closer and closer to the trade deadline. Also, after the series against Los Angeles, they will face Toronto for four games before heading to Baltimore.

The Return of Joe Kelly and Rich Hill

Last time we saw Joe Kelly he was in a Red Sox uniform, surrounded by his teammates after winning the World Series. The next time we saw him was on a duck boat in Boston with the World Series trophy. Now, he will be returning to Boston in Dodger blue for a World Series rematch, and receiving his well deserved World Series ring.

Not only did he trade in the red for the blue, but he traded in the number 56 for the number 17. Since signing a three year deal with Los Angeles back in December, Kelly has pitched in 30 games, going 3-3 with a 5.28 ERA. He has pitched in 30.2 innings while striking out 37 batters. The former Red Sox and Cardinal pitcher last pitched on July 6th against the San Diego Padres, pitching one inning and striking out two batters. Unfortunately, neither strikeout was to Manny Machado. Sorry Red Sox fans.

Another familiar face is Rich Hill. The Milton, MA native will be returning to Fenway Park in Dodger blue as well. Hill pitched for his hometown team from 2010-2012, and in 2015. Right now, he is in his fourth season with Los Angeles. Although he isn’t with the Red Sox organization anymore, Hill and his wife are in the process of raising one million dollars for Mass General Hospital to support research for a rare genetic disease that claimed the life of their young son. During the series, the Red Sox organization will be assisting the Hill family with their campaign.

First Homestand of the Second Half

This homestand is crucial for the Red Sox. With the Yankees and Rays tearing it up in the American League East, the Red Sox need to keep their heads above water. Also, we are a few short weeks away from the trade deadline. Last time the Red Sox won the World Series, 2014 saw the team sell most of their rotation. Pitchers such as Jake Peavy and Jon Lester were traded off. From there, the front office kept selling, causing many in Red Sox Nation to panic. Will we see that again this July 31st? Only time can tell.

It’s Time To Say Goodbye To JBJ

The Red Sox invested $8.55 million dollars in their starting center fielder this season. They drafted Jackie Bradley, Jr. in the first round (40th overall) back in 2011. Although JBJ has been one of their better home-grown players, along with Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Dustin Pedroia, Matt Barnes, his numbers to start this season should help explain why Boston’s hitting statistics rank in the bottom third of American League teams. Bradley is 9-for-64 this season (.141 batting average). He has struck out 21 times compared to 5 walks and has just 2 extra-base hits. Time has come to officially say goodbye to JBJ.

When we think of Jackie Bradley, Jr., we think of the best defensive center fielder inSay Goodbye baseball. Truth be told, Bradley has won just one Gold Glove, which came last year. Bradley has been the regular center fielder for the Sox since 2014, the year after the team won their eighth World Series championship. He took over for Jacoby Ellsbury, who signed a seven-year/$153 million-dollar contract with the Yankees that offseason.

In the five seasons that Bradley has been manning center, the AL Gold Glove has been awarded to the likes of Adam Jones, Kevin Kiermaier twice, Byron Buxton, and Bradley, respectively. Bradley’s teammate Mookie Betts has won a Gold Glove in right field for three years running.

Bradley’s OPS numbers from 2014-’18 read like this: .531, .832, .835, .726, .717. He has averaged a .239 batting average over that span. His best season as a hitter came in 2016, when he started alongside Betts in the All-Star Game. That year, he posted career highs across the board: 156 games – 94 runs – 149 hits – 26 home runs – 87 RBI – .835 OPS – 271 total bases.

Compared to other top AL center fielders in 2016, Bradley finished second in RBI, third in runs, home runs, and WAR, and fourth in batting average. The following season, in 2017, he sank from third to seventh in runs and batting average. Also, individually speaking, his OPS dropped more than one-hundred points, he hit 9 less home runs, and his WAR dropped from 5.3 to 2.2. Last year, in 2018, Bradley saw his OPS drop again. His .234 batting average was his worst since his rookie year. Some might believe that downward trends like this should have authorized the Red Sox to say goodbye to JBJ some time ago.

Say Goodbye To JBJ: Always been a streaky hitter

A .926 OPS, 14 home runs, and 55 RBI in 2016’s first half are really what earned Bradley an All Star appearance in 2016. However, in the season’s second half, his numbers changed drastically. His OPS fell nearly two-hundred points (.728). He posted just 20 extra base hits after collecting 36 from April-July.

When looking at his overall career, JBJ is a .257 hitter at Fenway Park. His road batting average, however, sits at an ugly .216 clip. When facing right-handed pitchers, his career OPS of .734 warrants an average hitter. Against lefty’s his OPS drops to .664.

At this moment, tough to cut ties

Waiving or trading JBJ right now might not make the most sense, but sitting him more regularly would be smart. Betts has plenty of experience in center field. Benintendi is comfortably the everyday left fielder. Perhaps J.D. Martinez, the team’s DH, would entertain more starts in the outfield. Brock Holt, who is currently on the Injured List, has experience playing the outfield, as well as Steve Pearce.

The Red Sox have a plethora of talented hitters: Betts, Benintendi, Martinez, Pearce, Mitch Moreland, Rafael Devers, Michael Chavis. The more manager Alex Cora can get this group in the lineup card, the more runs will cross the plate. With more talent (Pedroia and Eduardo Nunez) due back to the lineup in the impending future, the Red Sox should say goodbye to JBJ.

Player Positioning: Red Sox Hitters

We’ve only seen twelve games this season, which accounts for a measly seven percent of the long, 162-game stretch. However, it is never too early to start analyzing how players are performing. Here is a look at each of the Red Sox hitters’ player positioning with the team.

Player Positioning: Catchers

Christian Vazquez – .185 BA, .612 OPS, 4 runs, 5 hits, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 walks, 7 k’s, 1 SBPlayer Positioning 

The Puerto Rico native had a double and a home run in the team’s first 2 games, but has cooled off since, with just 1 extra-base hit in his last 5 starts. Vazquez is valued more as a leader on defense. His most starts in a season came in 2017 when he had 99. Look for him to set a new career-high in that department with the departure of Sandy Leon.

Blake Swihart – .353 BA, 1.009 OPS, 4 runs, 6 hits, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 walk, 4 k’s, 0 SB

Some could make a case for Swihart’s player positioning role to increase. I would have to agree. A former first-round draft pick in 2011, the backstop is finally in a position to earn more playing time with the team. The most games he has started in a season was 84 back in 2015. He has always been known to have potential as a slugger, and he is proving it now. In four starts thus far, Swihart has 3 runs, 5 hits, 2 extra-base hits, and 3 RBI.

Player Positioning: Corner infield

Mitch Moreland – .257 BA, 1.036 OPS, 5 runs, 9 hits, 4 HRs, 10 RBI, 5 walks, 7 k’s, 0 SB

“Mitchy Two Bags” has started 2019 on fire, which has been necessary with his platoon partner, Steve Pearce, beginning the campaign on the Injured List. Moreland, now in his third year with Boston, is slugging .686 through 12 games. He won the Red Sox their first game of the season back on March 29 with a pinch-hit, 3-run homer. With Devers struggling, look for Moreland’s left-handed bat to remain in the lineup as much as possible.

Rafael Devers – .250 BA, .622 OPS, 7 runs, 11 hits, 0 HRs, 0 RBI, 5 walks, 9 k’s, 1 SB

The youngest slugger in the lineup is Devers, who is 22 years old and is in his second year. Cora decided to deploy the third baseman in the three-hole to start the season. The decision warrants much hope and promise from skipper to slugger. ‘Rafy’ had a strong opening series against Seattle, with 6 hits and 4 runs, but has just 5 hits and 3 runs in six games since.

Player Positioning: Middle infield

Dustin Pedroia – 4 PAs, 1 hit

Pedroia started yesterday’s home opener against the Blue Jays. It was his first start since May 29th of last season. He grounded into a double play in his first at-bat. In his last at-bat in the 9th inning, he smacked a liner to right field for a base knock to start a rally. He looked rusty, and while it will take some time for the 35-year-old to get caught up to speed, it was encouraging to see him back in action.

Xander Bogaerts – .263 BA, .839 OPS, 6 runs, 10 hits, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 8 walks, 8 k’s, 0 SB

Bogaerts is a cog at shortstop, especially after signing a long-term extension in Spring Training. He had opened the season with at least one strikeout in six straight contests, but has not struck out in any of the past five games. Instead, he has collected six walks.

Player Positioning: Outfield

Andrew Benintendi – .261 BA, .662 OPS, 4 runs, 12 hits, 0 HRs, 5 RBI, 4 walks, 12 k’s, 1 SB. 

“Benny” led off in all four games against Seattle, then batted second in the next four games against Oakland, and then got switched back to leadoff for three games against Arizona. He has been disappointing for the most part – registering the second most strikeouts on the team. Before yesterday’s 0-for-5 performance, however, he had strung together 4 straight multi-hit games.

Jackie Bradley Jr. – .171 BA, .404 OPS, 3 runs, 7 hits, 0 HRs, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 13 k’s, 2 SB

Also in the discussion for most disappointing start out of the gate is Bradley. “JBJ” has a team-high 13 strikeouts. His defense is what clearly keeps him in the lineup. He won his first Gold Glove in 2018, and also stole a career-best 17 bags. His career OPS of .718 is likely Bradley’s ceiling for this season. He is clearly cold right now and will need a streaky change to come into effect as the season moves forward. It has happened before.

Mookie Betts – .255 BA, .831 OPS, 10 runs, 12 hits, 3 HRs, 7 RBI, 5 walks, 10 k’s, 0 SB.

Like Benintendi, Betts has been shifted around by manager Alex Cora. He has batted second in the lineup in 8 of the 12 games and, on Friday night, manned center field in place of Jackie Bradley Jr. Betts looked shaky in center. He seems much more comfortable in right field, his Gold Glove position. To support the claim, he threw out an Arizona baserunner “by a mile,” according to WEEI play-by-play commentator Joe Castiglione. After starting the season 4-for-15 with no extra base knocks, Betts has compiled 3 doubles, 3 home runs, and 7 RBIs since.

Player Positioning: Designated Hitter

J.D. Martinez – .326 BA, .936 OPS, 6 runs, 15 hits, 3 HRs, 8 RBI, 5 walks, 6 k’s, 0 SB

The back-to-back 40 home run bruiser has been Boston’s best hitter in the early going. “Just Dongs” leads the team in hits, on-base percentage, and total bases. He has also slugged 3 home runs already.

Player Positioning: Platoon hitters

Eduardo Nunez – .167 BA, .367 OPS, 2 runs, 5 hits, 0 HRs, 3 RBI, 0 walks, 3 k’s, 2 SB

“Nuny” has arguably been the most disappointing Red Sox at the plate. He has one extra-base hit in 31 PAs. A former All-Star, he has lacked confidence in the box and while playing the field (mostly second, one game at third). With Pedroia’s activation yesterday, expect Nunez’s player positioning to revert back to a reserve role.

Steve Pearce – 7 PAs, 1 hit (double), 4 k’s

Last year’s World Series MVP has appeared in just two games. He roped a double to deep left in his first game in Oakland. The Red Sox signed Pearce to a $6.5 million, one-year deal in the offseason. He came over from Toronto last July and posted a .901 OPS down the stretch. His bat and experience are extremely valuable to this team.

Brock Holt – 19 PAs, 1 hit, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 7 k’s

The utility man is currently on the Injured List after “being poked in the eye by his son,” per NESN.com. ‘Brockstar’ quietly had his best statistical season in 2018, posting a .774 OPS in 367 PAs. It will be interesting to see how long Holt is held out for and how the team is playing when he comes back. Holt’s player positioning could either continue as the team’s backup second baseman or slot back into his more familiar “service role.”

Huge Win For The Red Sox: Opportunity To Split Series Today

What a huge win for the Red Sox last night! Although the team remains in last place in the AL East, the victory snapped their four game losing streak. With the 6-3 victory over Oakland, Boston improved to 2-5 on the season.

The Sox won the game in the 9th inning when Mookie Betts doubled off the third baseHuge win bag. Two runners scored. Andrew Benintendi, next up, scored Betts with a stand up triple. Boston entered the bottom half of the inning with a 3-run lead and handed the ball to Ryan Brasier, who closed the door and gave the Sox their much needed second win of the season.

The game started slowly, as the first 3.5 innings were quite uneventful – one run was scored by the A’s in the 2nd on an infield RBI single by catcher Nick Hundley.

The A’s scored again in the fourth when Ramon Laureano sent a Nathan Eovaldi curveball into orbit. The home run traveled 438 feet, well beyond the center field fence. Other than the Laureano home run and lack of command, 4 walks allowed, Eovaldi pitched decently. He was pulled after five innings. He accumulated 96 pitches, but just 51 strikes.

Swihart, on his 27th birthday, goes 3-for-4 in huge win for the Red Sox

Boston had tallied just one hit before Blake Swihart put them on the board with a solo shot in the fifth. Oakland’s lead was cut to two.

Sox tie it up

Clutch hitting and superb pitching out of the bullpen is what fueled last night’s huge win for the Red Sox. In the 6th inning, Betts led off with a walk. Two batters later, Rafael Devers grounded the ball to A’s second baseman Jurickson Profar for a potential double play. But, Profar overthrew shortstop Marcus Semien. The ball had to be chased down by third baseman Matt Chapman and Betts was able to then advance to third without a throw. Both Betts and Devers were safe.

J.D. Martinez walked on five pitches to load the bases and Mitch Moreland came to the plate. A’s manager Bob Melvin replaced starter Marco Estrada with left-hander Ryan Buchter. Moreland jumped on the first pitch and doubled down the right field line. Two runs scored and the game was tied.

Red Sox relievers Colten Brewer and Matt Barnes pitched the following three innings (6, 7, and 8). They recorded a combined four strikeouts, all of which A’s hitters went down swinging.

After the game, manager Alex Cora’s energy was uplifting. While speaking to reporters, he said, “When we pitch, we have a chance to win the game … The energy was better today, the whole day … We need to start playing clean baseball, better baseball.”

Red Sox activate Pearce ahead of today’s game

Steve Pearce will have a chance to make his 2019 debut now that he was activated off the Injured List today. Sam Travis was sent down to Triple-A Pawtucket.

The series finale is today. After trailing in the each of the first three games, Boston has somehow found a way to win two of the four games. Eduardo Rodriguez takes the mound in an important second start for the southpaw. He is opposed by fellow left-hander Brett Anderson. First pitch is at 3:37 PM/ET this afternoon. Enjoy the day game Sox fans!