Ranking every Boston Red Sox season from this decade
By Sean Penney
World Series hangovers must be real. For the second time this decade, the Red Sox disappointed while defending their title.
This year got off to a brutal start with the Red Sox losing eight games on their 11-game road trip to open the season. The plan to limit innings for starting pitchers in spring training to conserve their arms for another deep postseason run backfired when the staff was woefully unprepared for their first few turns through the rotation.
It didn’t get much better for the pitching staff as the year went on. Nathan Eovaldi hit the injured list early after undergoing a procedure to remove loose bodies from his elbow. He was sidelined longer than expected and was ineffective as both a starter and reliever once he eventually returned. Eovaldi was rewarded for his postseason heroics with a four-year contract that already looks like an albatross.
Chris Sale had the worst year of his career before hitting the shelf with an elbow injury. David Price had an excellent first half before developing a cyst on his wrist that hindered his delivery. Attempting to pitch through the ailment was a mistake, dragging his numbers down to the lowest point of his career. Both co-aces finished the season on the injured list.
The Red Sox took far too long to develop a bullpen hierarchy, cycling through several options to replace Craig Kimbrel in the closer role before finally settling on Brandon Workman. The bullpen was fine in the end but the damage from their early-season blown saves had been done.
Boston won 84 games to finish in third place in the division but it never felt that they had much of a chance at even claiming a Wild Card spot down the stretch.