What’s wrong with the Red Sox? Three reasons for the terrible start of Boston in the 2022 season

Last year the Boston Red Sox were two wins away from the road to the World Series. You wouldn’t know that by their game this season. After being swept away by the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park last weekend, the Red Sox have lost six consecutive series and are 1-7-1 in their nine series this year. It’s been almost a month since they won consecutive games.

I would usually put this place on the division ladder, but the AL East is very tough, and the Red Sox got out of that conversation. This is where Boston is currently in the overall standings:

30. Cincinnati Reds: 5-23.
29. Detroit Tigers: 8-19 (3 ​​1/2 GU)
27. Washington Nationals: 10-20 (4 GU)
26. Chicago Cubs: 9-18 (4 1/2 GU)
25. Boston Red Sox: 10-19 (4 1/2 GU)

Yes, the Red Sox are rolling in the mud with the Cubs and Nationals. Boston is 0-6 in extra games, and if he had managed to split those six games, his record would have been more pleasant 13-16. It’s not great, but it’s not a disaster in early May either. Instead, the Red Sox hold one of the worst records in the sport, and their problems are numerous.

“We dug a hole for ourselves. No doubt. We didn’t play well,” Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told reporters, including Boston Heraldis Steve Hewitt, over the weekend. Panic won’t help. We need to play better. We’ve gotten into this situation, but if we’re going to get out of it, we’re going to get away with doing things we know we can do well. There’s a difference between urgency and panic and I think we definitely need to show more urgency than we hoped we would feel at this point in the season. But this game will not reward panic. ”

Two weeks ago, the Red Sox had their fourth biggest drop in postseasonal odds in the early days of the season. Since then, their prospects have only declined. SportsLine currently sets its post-season odds at 7.1 percent – remember, there’s an expanded format with 12 teams this year – and FanGraphs has more charity 19.6 percent. Anyway, it’s dark. Here are the three biggest reasons why the Red Sox started so badly in 2022.

1. The ninth change is a mess

image in the head

This is the most obvious problem with the Red Sox. The corral was very unreliable, especially in the late shifts. Boston has five defenses and nine blown defenses, including five in the ninth inning. Hansel Robles and Jake Diekman combined took the lead in the ninth inning last Wednesday, and then Robles did so on his Saturday. The Red Sox lost both games.

All you need to know about the state of the Red Sox is that Robles re-signed with the club on March 18, applied to camp on March 31 (postponed due to visa issues), debuted in the Grapefruit League on April 5, and then On the opening day on April 8 he gave the ninth substitution in a draw. Robles was their best option with a high lever despite the lack of proper construction. Alas.

Here are some numbers of probabilities of winning the Boston bench:

  • Added probability of winning: -1.10 (28th in MLB)
  • Exclusions: 28 (13th highest in MLB)
  • dissolution: 30 (highest in MLB)

Exclusions are incentives that increase the team’s chances of winning by at least six percent. Dissolution is the opposite. These are benefits that reduce the team’s chances of winning by at least six percent. The Red Sox are the only team in baseball with more breakdowns than interruptions. Not even the terrible Reds did it.

Trouble with the column was exacerbated by Garrett Whitlock’s entry into the rotation. Whitlock was the Red Sox’s best liberator last season, and he started on the bench this year, but Boston is shifting him to the starting role because they believe he has a top advantage. If the Red Sox believe that, they owe it to themselves to find out.

Whitlock allowed two earned rounds in 12 innings in three starts as he increased his pitch. He threw out 17 and looked great. The experiment has been successful to date. The downside is that manager Alex Cora no longer has that dominant lever in more changes he would get rid of in close games, and that’s obvious. Robles, Diekman and Matt Barnes continue to light fires in the late shifts.

Barnes was especially disappointed. He was an All-Star last season and the Red Sox signed him on July 11 with a two-year extension of $ 18.75 million to prevent him from becoming a free agent. Since signing the extension, Barnes has an ERA of 7.00 with 1.93 K / BB and 1.67 HR / 9. He went from being truly elite early last year to borderline incapable of census.

Is the ninth change enough of a problem that the Red Sox should turn off Whitlock as a starter and make him closer? I’m willing to hear arguments that he’s more valuable in that role than as a starter, even though he looks like a pretty good starter, and Chris Sale recently failed. The last part of the rotation is not very locked at the moment.

For now, Cora will continue to mix and match in the ninth inning, because what other option does she have? Left-hander Matt Strahm and right-hander Ryan Brasier have done a good job so far, so maybe it’s time to give them more looks in the late changes. Bad pines can ruin the season, but they can also be repaired. It’s not easy, but it’s doable.

2. The offense is too serious

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The Red Sox have three All-Star strikers who act as All-Stars: Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and JD Martinez. They were great. The rest of the offense is horrible. Look at this:

Bogaerts, Devers and Martinez

334

.316 / .356 / .486

26

9

35

2.3

All the other Red Sox strikers

737

.186 / .243 / .273

33

7

59

-2.4

Bogaerts, Devers and Martinez were amazing. They are a three-member Atlas, accused of a Red Sox offense that is otherwise full of too many easy exits and not enough extra base hits. Just to further encourage the matter, here is the team leader in OPS + (min. 50 appearances on the board):

  1. Xander Bogaerts: 150
  2. JD Martinez: 144
  3. Raphael Dever: 133
  4. Alex Verdugo: 65
  5. Christian Vázquez: 65

This is not the NBA. You can’t build a big three and put the ball in their hands as often as you want. The other guys have to take the sticks. The middle third of the Red Sox lineup is amazing. One of the best in baseball. The other two-thirds are the sub-level of replacement. The Boston strikers who are not from Bogaerts / Devers / Martinez have been so bad for a month of the season. So bad it’s almost hard to believe.

Trevor Story signed a six-year, $ 140 million contract two weeks before opening and not only scored 0.194 / .276 / .269 (59 OPS +) without a homer, but is also 1 on 16 with 10 throws in the last four games. Over the weekend, he heard whistles in Fenway Park. Story’s elbow was a problem last year and there are indications that it is still a problem this year …

… plus he had a short spring training session and changed positions. There are some potential reasons that explain Story’s ordeal earlier this season. Does it make it easier for them to sit as a fan? Not. Are the losses still the same? that. Conclusion, Story was an addition to the Red Sox over the winter and he was net negative.

Perhaps even more discouraging than Story’s poor start is the play of Verdug and Bobby Dalbec, two young players the Red Sox are counting on to be a part of the future. Verdugo was in charge of Mookie Betts ’return and his game went back three years in the Red Sox. He was often an average player, not a difference maker.

Dalbec’s contact problems make him a highly variant striker with extreme peaks and valleys. The tops may look like the second half of last season, when he hit .269 / .344 / .611 with 16 home runs in 61 games. The valleys this season look like this: .139 / .225 / .215 with one home run and 28 renderings in 89 appearances on the board. At the very least, the talk of degradation in Triple-A is justified.

The Red Sox have stars that act like stars in the middle of the lineup and that’s important. It’s really hard to win this league without the stars. The Red Sox also have the most unproductive end in the lineup in baseball (a lots of). The rest of the composition does not come close to its own weight. How do you fix players who fail? It’s not as simple as replacing some facilities.

3. They lack depth

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Given his reputation as a builder of deep and flexible ensembles with the Tampa Bay Rays, Bloom’s Red Sox are terribly unimpressive on the sidelines. They’ve already gone through retreats like Rob Refsnyder and Travis Shaw, giving Franchy Corder another look and turning to Kalmyr Tyler Danish and John Schreiber as their first calls. Not great.

ZiPS projections can be used as a rough measure of depth. Projections are not predictions, they are an estimate of a player’s current level of talent, and we can look at players projected for 4 WAR (All-Star caliber), 2 WAR (league average) and 1 WAR (service major league). Here are the number of ZiPS players provided at each level for the four AL East candidates (sorry, Orioles):

What the Rays lack in star power at the top of the list they make up for with depth at the bottom. They have more sustainable major leagues than ranked, which means their internal replacement level is high. Their Triple-A calls are better than all the others. The Yankees are not as deep as Tampa, but they are close and have a lot of quality regular players.

According to ZiPS, the Blue Jays have a similar depth issue as the Red Sox, and it’s quite possible that the current difference between the two teams is Jordan Romano. Romano leads in baseball with 12 saves and scored in the ninth inning, which is a big reason why Toronto has 10 wins in one run. The Red Sox, as noted, have big problems and have 3-7 in games in one run.

This is the era of pitcher construction and it’s fair to wonder if the Red Sox have the same throwing infrastructure as their rivals from AL East. They don’t have a seemingly endless supply of guys throwing 95 with wicked breaking balls like Rice and the Yankees. Can I turn Robbie Ray into the winner of Cy Young, or force Kevin Gausman to rise to the level, as the Blue Jays did? I’m not sure.

The Boston farm system has improved and several young pitchers in the system have achieved great success in a short time (Brandon Walter, Josh Winckowski, etc.), suggesting it is catching up with its rivals in the division if it has not already caught up. However, these pitchers do not yet affect the MLB roster, and the depth of the players in the position is also lacking. It is now being revealed.

Is there any hope?

Of course there is hope. It’s May 9th! Do you remember how the national championship started in 2019? Or the Atlanta Braves last year? It doesn’t matter how you start, but how you end, although we have to admit that going through the Blue Jays, Rays and Yankees in AL East will be difficult. At least the Red Sox now have an extra place in the postseason.

I think it’s an insult. Outfielder Jarren Duran (.371 / .451 / .597) and first baseman Triston Casas (.260 / .373 / .500) are playing well in Triple-A – Duran has tripled in one game with the Red Sox as a replacement for COVID last week – and I think it’s time to give them Jackie Bradley Jr. and Dalbec’s at-bats. Can assistant Ryan Fitzgerald (.295 / .365 / .653 in Triple-A) help the bench?

Right-wing Connor Seabold throws well in Triple-A (five runs in 23 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings) and, given the situation in Boston, I’m sure he can help in some trait. It’s worth a try. The point is that the Red Sox have some very real problems in the track and in the lineup. Enough to ruin their season? Yes, maybe, but it’s not too late to straighten the ship. This list needs a lot of help.

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