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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Thursday, July 11, 2019

A Disappointing First Half

With the Sox at the unofficial halfway point of the 2019 championship season I think it is safe to say they have not defended their World Series title particularly well so far.  In fairness some of that is down to the amazing first half the Miami Marlins…oh wait, New York Yankees have had (I get those teams with only one World Series title this century confused).  They have been remarkable and opened up a nine game lead on our heroes in the division.  Past defenses of World Series titles have run the gamut of possibilities;

2005: 49-38 (2 games ahead)
2008: 57-40 (0.5 games ahead)
2014: 43-52 (9.5 games behind)

Suffice it to say they will need to finish 2019 like they finished 2005 (or for that matter 2004) to make a dent.  While we wait to see if that will happen I thought a quick look back at what we have seen so far would be a nice way to kill some time;

MVP: Rafael Devers - Really the left side of the infield probably deserves this nod with Xander Bogaerts being Devers’ equal in every way.  While the bat is getting the attention Devers has also improved his work on the bases and defensively has shown improvement as the year has progressed.  After committing nine errors in the first 32 games of the season he has committed just three since.

Cy Young: David Price - Quietly Price has been a savior.  While he has not been great he has been very good and generally consistent giving Alex Cora the length and quality he has sorely needed with a struggling bullpen.

Biggest Surprise: Christian Vazquez’ power - Not only has Vazquez had a great year with the bat it has been a great year fueled not by a 2017 style BABIP boost but by a dazzling show of power seemingly out of nowhere.  While Michael Chavis has impressed mightily a lot of his performance has been about what you would expect if you anticipated him contributing, Vazquez has brought this power out of nowhere.

Biggest Disappointment: The Rotation - What can you say about this bunch?  They simply have not gotten it done and other than Price it has been a team effort.  Plenty was said early in the organizational decision to ease into the season and so far it is hard to see that decision as a successful one.

Best Under the Radar Story: Marco Hernandez - Every year I like to do a “Much Ado About Nothing” here, a discussion of a much discussed story that really never blossomed into anything meaningful.  This year doesn’t seem to have that but it does have a great story in Marco Hernandez.  After playing 21 games in 2017 and none at all in 2018 Marco has contributed with a .933 OPS including a game tying and game winning homer in the ninth innings of games.

Games of the Year (chronological)

1. March 29 - Boston 7 at Seattle 6 - Mitch Moreland’s 3 run homer in the ninth gives the Sox their first win of the year.

2. May 8 - Boston 2 at Baltimore 1 - A tremendous pitchers’ duel, Chris Sale notching an immaculate inning, Jackie Bradley’s remarkable game saving robbery of Trey Mancini and Andrew Benintendi’s game winning homer in the twelfth.

3. June 5 - Boston 8 at Kansas City 0 - Chris Sale’s complete game shutout features his second immaculate inning of the season.

4. June 21 - Toronto 5 at Boston 7 - Down 5-0 as they stretched the Sox roared back to tie it then won it on Vazquez’ walk off.

5. July 4 - Boston 8 at Toronto 7
- The Sox brought their own fireworks to Canada and picked up another dramatic come from behind triumph behind Marco Hernandez’ ninth inning dinger.

Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: July 11, 2019 at 11:28 AM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 11, 2019 at 03:00 PM (#5861051)
I came here expecting a discussion of the Tyler Thornburg news, so I’m a bit disappointed. Perhaps he’s getting his own thread?
   2. Nasty Nate Posted: July 11, 2019 at 03:20 PM (#5861057)
Perhaps he’s getting his own thread?
Probably one of those situations where a half dozen threads were submitted simultaneously and Jim's deciding which one to post.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: July 11, 2019 at 03:22 PM (#5861058)
Games of the Year (chronological)
I know this doesn't really fit the category, but I'll nominate the home opener as an honorable mention (even though they lost) because of the ring/banner/championship ceremony.
   4. TomH Posted: July 11, 2019 at 03:45 PM (#5861070)
Given that the Red Sox Lead the Major Leagues in KO/9 (who woulda thunk), maybe their 2nd-half pitching will be better. Fangraphs projections agree, pegging them for tied-for-3rd in ERA the rest of the season.
   5. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: July 11, 2019 at 08:59 PM (#5861165)
I still can't shake the feeling that this team has been a little unlucky (not run differential necessarily but in performance variation) and still has the talent to rip off a 10-2 or 14-4 or 18-5 stretch that gets them back into things in a big way.
   6. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: July 11, 2019 at 09:27 PM (#5861175)
has the talent to rip off a 10-2 or 14-4 or 18-5 stretch that gets them back into things in a big way.

Maybe so, but I think both NY and Houston are going to win over 100 games and I can't see Boston winning that many with so little time left. I would like to seem them host the WC game, win that, then you just never know. A team starts to really click at the right time and 11 wins later, you are the champs. The SP just needs to settle a bit and be more consistent and the pen could use a little help.

Hey Clapper, nice of you to join us. Funny though, you were a bit quiet last year, you need to be more consistent with your intrusions....
   7. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: July 11, 2019 at 09:48 PM (#5861178)
Nate - I actually had that included at one point but decided to keep it to games they won.

Benji - I agree with you that they have the talent to do that. My fear is tha tthe bullpen is just too unreliable to allow that to happen. I fear they will just lose a couple of games during that prolonged hot streak because Barnes isn’t throwing strikes or whatever.
   8. villageidiom Posted: July 12, 2019 at 05:44 PM (#5861497)
Not worth its own thread, but Gerry Callahan is out at WEEI after 20 years. "Sometimes the bad guys win," he said. That's exactly how I'd describe the last 20 years of WEEI. Callahan was a constant stream of disdain, making their morning show tolerable only for people who love to hate. That wasn't how I liked to direct my attention in the morning.
   9. ajnrules Posted: July 12, 2019 at 07:39 PM (#5861523)
4. June 21 - Toronto 5 at Boston 7 - Down 5-0 as they stretched the Sox roared back to tie it then won it on Vazquez’ walk off.

Second time in the span of eight days the Red Sox came back from a 5-1 deficit. They had come back from a 6-1 deficit on June 13 against the Rangers, but I guess this one ranked higher because it was a walk-off.
   10. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: July 14, 2019 at 06:21 PM (#5861828)
I like the Cashner pick up. He’s no star but he’s a solid pitcher in the vein of Eovaldi last year. At the very least he’s an improvement over the dross that has been rolling out as the fifth starter and makes the move of Big Nate to the bullpen a bit more palatable.
   11. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: July 15, 2019 at 12:48 AM (#5861878)
This team continues to do boneheaded things and give away baseball games. Lots of talent there, but sometimes not really good baseball being played.
   12. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: July 15, 2019 at 10:56 AM (#5861917)
I just didn't get it last night. Hernandez laid down a great bunt in the 9th and in the 11th it seems like a no-brainer. Get JBJ to third with one out and let Betts-Devers-X do their thing. Instead, he lets Marco swing away (albeit he just missed winning it on a rocket to left before the grounder) but then JBJ makes a terrible base running blunder which is particularly surprising given that he seems like a generally good base runner.
   13. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: July 15, 2019 at 11:10 AM (#5861921)
I came here expecting a discussion of the Tyler Thornburg news,

Anybody else notice that is actually a picture of Brasier in the article?
   14. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: July 15, 2019 at 12:04 PM (#5861942)
Honestly I didn't even look at the article...but yeah it is. More fine work from ESPN's top notch crew.

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