Can the Red Sox recover and get back on the playoffs fast track?
Boston Red Sox fans are clinging to hope that their loyalty will be rewarded with a miraculous turnaround. They are sticking to their Titanic lifeboat while the RMS Carpathia chugs away to New York City. As a Red Sox fan – albeit one who has not taken a loyalty blood oath – I most certainly wish for their dreams of titles to come true. But how?
Red Sox Schedule
The Red Sox play a handful of losers as they drag to the finish line. Of course, the way the boys with the red hose have played lately could be defined as losers. That said, there are several cream puffs on the schedule. In football, they are called trap games.
The other flip side of the schedule is there is a passel of games against those stout teams contending. Boston recently displayed their playoff mettle against Tampa Bay and the Yankees by going 0-6. Neither have any apparent fear factor playing Boston.
A semi-west coast swing is on the slate with a visit to Chicago and Seattle. The Pale Hose is running away with the American League Central, and I am committed to attending that series in the Windy City. Is it possible that could be a playoff preview?
Then on to Seattle and the M’s are winning. The Mariners also can show Red Sox management how much the competitive sands can shift in one year. The M’s 2020 bullpen was the worst on the planet, including Korea, Japan, and beer leagues. Now? The M’s ‘pen is solid. They are also a very good team.
As with the schedule, the opposition also has their games that teeter from the war games to a yawn. The Rays and Yankees are both in a groove and show no signs of a collapse. What it comes down to in the recipe for playoff success is the Sox have to beat those guys mano a mano.
Relying on the schedule can be summed up quite simply – win 25 more games, and you’re in. Continue to lose and lose to your prime competitors, and it is over.
Red Sox ace Chris Sale
Why did Chris Sale not pitch against Tampa and/or New York? Sale appears to be 100% facing two offenses that are borderline embarrassing. That, however, is still two wins, a confidence booster, and gives the team a jolt of ace talent. The Sale bounce did not happen after the O’s series as the Sox went into the tank big time in the Big Apple. Maybe better after the Rangers?
The positive about Sale and rookie Tanner Houck is it removes Garrett Richards and Martin Perez from the rotation. Both are now sequestered in the bullpen, and I expect manager Alex Cora to put both into a higher leverage situation. Based on recent bullpen meltdowns, this is firmly in it can’t get any worse column.
Red Sox Offense
Live by the bat and die by the bat. When the pitching suddenly decides that meatballs are a delicacy to be delivered to the opposition, those with the war club’s responsibility is to even it out. So far, the offense has been baffled in the current downfall. Clutch has been just that little devise to shift gears and not collet needed runs. The Yankee’s doubleheader was a monstrous display of batting incompetence. That seems to have become far too regular. BSI’s Zach Coe takes a look at the offense.
The team is currently in a collective Jackie Bradley Jr. mode when it blows hot – scorching – and then cold. Now they need to return to where they came from behind consistently, never out of a game. Better yet, give a nice pad to the starter to avoid Cora’s quick hook and a further bullpen erosion.
Red Sox are looking for a hero
Will someone step up? Will there be a David Ortiz or Carl Yastrzemski for just a few weeks? That someone special who will suddenly become Roy Hobbs? Xander Bogaerts or Rafael Devers or J.D. Martinez? Maybe rookie Jarren Duran will suddenly light the spark. Or Kyle Schwarber will repeat the mashing streak when he was with the Nationals?
Will that hero be on the mound? A Koji Uehara unhittable streak? A series of starts where a hurler is untouchable? Hitting and pitching can feed off itself, and that can happen. That one spark that gets it all rolling.
The Red Sox are not dead, but they are fast-going flat line. So far, it has been a community effort with the offense, pitching, defense, baserunning, managing, and front office all making their contributions. Unless there is a sudden jump-start, the slide will continue.