The Boston Red Sox have officially clinched...last place in the AL East. They sit at 76-82 (.481) and have been eliminated from playoff contention.
While hopes were not necessarily high to start the season, there was certainly a chance for this team to sneak into the playoffs. Alas, they did not, and here are five reasons why — regardless of whether or not you want to hear them.
The Red Sox wasted a solid offensive season
Per FanGraphs, the Red Sox finished with the third-best average, third-best batting average on balls in play, seventh-best OPS, and ninth-most runs scored in all of baseball. Led by Devers and Casas, their lineup was — at times — one of the better lineups in baseball.
Yet, among the ten teams with the highest OPS, nine currently have a playoff spot. Only the Sox do not. Among the 11 teams with the highest AVG, ten have a playoff spot. Only the Sox do not.
How have they hit so well and not come close to a playoff spot? Part of the story is their weak pitching, which we'll turn to next.
The Red Sox had the 10th worst team ERA in baseball
The Red Sox team ERA sits at 4.59, the 10h worst in baseball and fifth worst in the American League.
No starter with 10 or more starts has an ERA below 4.20. Kutter Crawford pitched to a 4.23 ERA, Brayan Bello to a 4.24, Nick Pivetta to a 4.25, Chris Sale to a 4.42, James Paxton to a 4.50, and Tanner Houck to a 5.31.
Their relievers pitched slightly better, but their 4.32 bullpen ERA still sits at 11th worst in baseball.
These struggles can partially be attributed to numerous injuries. Former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber only threw 55 innings, as he dealt with a lingering shoulder injury throughout the year. Additionally, Houck dealt with lower back issues and a facial fracture, Whitlock experienced elbow problems, Paxton missed time due to his hamstring and knee, and Sale missed a large chunk of the season with shoulder inflammation.