This weekend presents an exciting opportunity for the Boston Red Sox! They can not only fully cede the AL East to the Yankees but they can continue their quest to fall out of the Wild Card race. Following up their above average 2018 by completely missing the playoffs would be fantastically appropriate.
Boston has been on a mission of mediocrity this season. Last weekend’s series where they dropped 2 out of 3 to Baltimore, where Boston was outscored for the series despite putting up 17 runs on Saturday has shown that this year’s Red Sox team is lacking.
Their two best players, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers have cooled off over the past 7 days which has helped keep the Red Sox 2 games out of the second wild card spot.
Two big contributors from last season, Jackie Bradley and Andrew Benintendi have had terrible years which proves they were both playing above their heads last season. Post All Star Break Benintendi has a slash line of .213/.315/.362 which is a massive fall off from last season. He’s been so bad that MLB.com has actually removed the “Benny Biceps” nickname and simply replaced it with “Benny”. I’ve always said he was overrated and it’s great to see that those bicep curls don’t actually improve his game. Bradley has been another disaster with a Post All Star Break slash line of 167/.271/.357. Bradley has been a streaky hitter since day 1……actually not really day 1 since I’m pretty sure his batting average took about two seasons to break .200 but you get my point. He’s streaky and cannot be relied upon over a long period of time. I know Red Sox fans love to site Gary Mathews Jr.’s fielding ability as a reason to stay in the lineup…I’m sorry, did I refer to Jackie Bradley Jr. as Gary Mathews Jr.? You have to understand, they are very easily confused but I digress. Red Sox fans love to point to Bradley’s fielding but a .167 batting average is a .167 batting average. He belongs on the bench as nothing more than a late game defensive replacement, he isn’t helping the team especially considering Betts could be moved to CF and be just as good of a fielder as Bradley.
Which segues me into Mookie Betts. Mookie Betts has shown to be one of the best players in baseball when he wants to be. I repeat, “when he wants to be”. He’s shown us MVP caliber play but he’s also shown that he can be a real Kyrie Iriving to Boston. He’s got his ring, he’s got his MVP, from the outside looking in, it seems like he is going to mail it in the next two years until free agency then skip town to Philly, Anaheim, or San Diego to get the biggest paycheck he can get. It’s becoming more and more apparent that he hates being there and cannot wait to leave. I don’t blame him at all. If I were stuck in Boston, I would be dreaming of the day I got to leave too.
I know Red Sox fans still think they are a championship contender but their starting pitching is average and their bullpen is below average. I know fans think they can swing a trade or two for some arms but how is that going to happen? Nearly every NL team is still in contention, you think those GMs aren’t looking for pitching too? The Red Sox farm system is depleted, how are they going to swing for a reliable arm when so many other teams can make a better offer? That Andrew Cashner trade was as good as it gets and that wasn’t very good at all.
Yankees take 3 out of 4 in Fenway? It sure looks like it could potentially happen.