Red Sox inconsistent first half shows what they need to improve on

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: Alex Cora #20 manager of the Boston Red Sox speaks with his players during the MLB London Series game between Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees at London Stadium on June 29, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: Alex Cora #20 manager of the Boston Red Sox speaks with his players during the MLB London Series game between Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees at London Stadium on June 29, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Pool/Getty Images) /

Summarizing the first half of the Boston Red Sox season and what they need to improve on heading into the All-Star break in Cleveland.

The first half of the Boston Red Sox 2019 season is in the books and there is a lot to talk about. There are plenty of positives to look at, but also more negatives than we’d all prefer.

Starting with the rotation, Chris Sale has not been what we expect out of him thus far, as he owns a 4.04 ERA heading into the All-Star break. His strikeout numbers are there, but he’s just been incredibly inconsistent overall.

Let’s compare 2018 Sale to 2019 Sale. This season, he has allowed 4+ runs in 9 of his 18 starts up until this point. That only happened twice in 30 starts last year, including the playoffs. Boston is also 6-12 in Sale’s starts this season. Last year? 20-10. That’s gotta change.

Eduardo Rodriguez has had a very disappointing and inconsistent year, although he has been a little better as of late, riding a 4.07 ERA in 42 innings in his last 7 starts. So that is certainly a positive to look at when it comes to E-Rod and something we should expect more out of the big lefty in the second half.

Rick Porcello has been nothing short of awful, as he owns a 5.33 ERA up to this point. There hasn’t been much from Porcello this year to show that he can return to his good self, and that’s a big problem. With an already short-handed rotation with Nathan Eovaldi heading to the bullpen when he returns, Porcello needs to be better, and that’s crystal clear.

That gets us to David Price. The ace of the 2019 Red Sox and arguably someone who has been the ace for almost a full calendar year now dating back to last July. Price has a 3.24 ERA to go along with 95 strikeouts and a 1.14 WHIP in 83.1 innings. Price has been nothing short of phenomenal and reliable.

The only thing with Price has been the fact that manager Alex Cora has limited his innings, as Price has gotten to 100 pitches only twice in his 16 starts. I would expect that to change down the stretch, as this team will need as much of this man as they can get if they want to be playing baseball in October.

As far as the bullpen goes, it doesn’t look too good at the moment. Brandon Workman has been incredibly reliable along with Heath Hembree, who has pitched to a 1.35 ERA in his last 15 appearances. Other than those two, Cora doesn’t have many weapons to use when it comes to the later innings. Eovaldi moving to the pen can certainly help, but just him won’t be enough. I would expect Dave Dombrowski to be pretty busy come the trade deadline.

As far as the offense goes, it’s been incredible. Mookie Betts struggled for a bit, but has shown flashes of his MVP self of late. Xander Bogaerts, the All-Star, hit .294 with an OPS of .919 in the first half. J.D. Martinez, another All-Star has almost identical numbers, hitting just over .300 with a .917 OPS.

More from Red Sox News

That brings us to Rafael Devers, the best hitter on this team in 2019. Somehow he isn’t an All-Star. Craziness. Devers is hitting .324 with a .923 OPS in 87 games. He has the most hard hit balls (95 mph+) in the majors with 143, per Baseball Savant. Like I said above, this man somehow didn’t make it to the Midsummer classic, yet he’s an MVP candidate. Insane. Keep mashing, Raffy.

Micheal Chavis has been solid for his first year in the big leagues. Jackie Bradley Jr. who started his 2019 campaign horrendously, has been one of the best hitters on the team within the last month and a half. Marco Hernandez and Brock Holt have also been very good, along with Andrew Benintendi, who has heated up as of late.

The Red Sox have also been able to get amazing offense out of the catcher position, something even that invincible 2018 team couldn’t get. Christian Vazquez finished his first half hitting .299 with an OPS of .852. He has 14 home runs up until this point. Going into the season? He had 10 in his whole career. I don’t know what Vazquez has done, but he has completely changed the way we look at him. He has turned into an incredible hitting catcher. He’s been arguably the best in the American League, and Its great to see.

So overall, this team has many flaws. Many pitching flaws, I should say, as the offense has been as good as last year’s. The starting rotation needs to improve. Price has been awesome, but Porcello, E-Rod, and Sale all have to be better. We’ll see how Eovaldi going to the bullpen shapes out, but that shouldn’t stop Dave Dombrowski from surveying the reliever market.

Next. 5 relievers to target at the trade deadline. dark

Overall, I really don’t see this team as too far off from last year’s. Sure, they have a ways to go in order to catch up to the mighty Yankees. But as of right now, all this team needs is a trade or two and they can be a huge threat to anybody that steps into their way. So, the Red Sox should enjoy the All-Star break and come back even stronger in the second half for the playoff push.