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Tuesday, May 10, 2022

What’s wrong with the Red Sox? Three reasons for Boston’s dreadful start to the 2022 season

All you need to know about the state of the Red Sox bullpen is that Robles re-signed with the club on March 18, reported to camp on March 31 (he was delayed by a visa issue), made his Grapefruit League debut on April 5, and then was pitching the ninth inning of a tie game on Opening Day on April 8. Robles was their best high-leverage option despite the lack of a proper build up. Yikes.

Here are some win probability numbers on Boston’s bullpen:

Win probability added: -1.10 (28th in MLB)
Shutdowns: 28 (13th most in MLB)
Meltdowns: 30 (most in MLB)

Shutdowns are relief appearances that increase the team’s win probability at least six percent. Meltdowns are the opposite. They are relief appearances that decrease the team’s win probability at least six percent. The Red Sox are the only team in baseball with more meltdowns that shutdowns. Not even the terrible Reds have managed that.

The bullpen woes have been exacerbated by Garrett Whitlock’s move into the rotation. Whitlock was the Red Sox’s best reliever last season and he started this year in the bullpen, but Boston is transitioning him into a starting role because they believe he has top-of-the-rotation upside. If the Red Sox believe that, they owe it to themselves to find out.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 10, 2022 at 10:25 AM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox

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   1. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 10, 2022 at 11:19 AM (#6076052)
The bullpen and four guys over 20 points below their career OPS+. The bullpen was predictable, the offense was not though the bullpen should be better than this shitshow.

The depth is the killer issue for me. The JBJ/Renfroe trade was fine (and per WAR is basically a wash right now) but the idea that he and/or Dalbec wouldn't hit and would need a caddy was entirely predictable. To go into the season with Arroyo as the RHB bench option and no one as an LHB was a mistake. I'm on record at length at expecting them to turn it around but the hole they are digging is so deep already that the playoffs may not be an option. 8 of their next 11 series are against teams that missed the playoffs last year. That's 35 games and if they can go 20-15 in there they will be 30-34. That shouldn't be an unreasonable ask. If they can't, well get ready for next year.
   2. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 10, 2022 at 11:27 AM (#6076054)
I don't know the man personally, but Trevor Story was always a quiet guy who never sought attention in his best years with the Rockies. After Nolan Arenado left, Story was expected to be the centerpiece of the offense, and he seemed really uncomfortable with that. He doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would respond well to the pressure of signing a huge free-agent contract.

Add to that he's in a new league, learning a new position, and possibly still dealing with elbow issues, and his struggles aren't a surprise to me.
   3. The Duke Posted: May 10, 2022 at 12:07 PM (#6076060)
A lot of guys sign these big deals and struggle and then come back to form half a season or a full season in. Lindor, Arenado come to mind. Semien, Correa, Baez and seager are all off to subpar starts.

Story is a bit different. He seemed to be declining, had a bad wing, and may be a creature of Coors. Still, he's fast and good defensively so pretty high floor plus Fenway is probably a good park for him

The Red Sox pitching, though. Just looking at a list of names on the Staff and that isn't very impressive.

Offense will turn around but probably not enough to make them more than a .500 team.
   4. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 10, 2022 at 01:08 PM (#6076070)
I suspect Duke is right about the Sox finishing around .500 at this point. As for Story I think it's been a bit of a perfect storm for him;

- short spring training (which I think is worse for high K guys who seem to be streakier)
- learning a new position
- miss part of spring training for birth of a child
- get food poisoning and miss a few games right at the start of the season.

He's coming across as a pretty good guy. That he took the deal knowing he'd have to change positions (at least for one year) got him in good but he's been hearing it a bit lately. Hopefully he can get it going because there have been flashes of him being the player he can be.
   5. Textbook Editor Posted: May 10, 2022 at 01:25 PM (#6076074)
I suspect Duke is right about the Sox finishing around .500 at this point.


Where are we with a .500 season as opposed to a .400 or .375 season that gets us in a better position for a Top-6 pick (or hell even the best non-lottery pick)? I mean, I suppose all in all I'd rather not be curb-stomped for 4 more months but I'm not sure I'd even try for .500 if Bloom & Co. think the playoffs is out of reach.

But I definitely understand YMMV on this. For me, unless you can make the playoffs with a .500 record, I'm not sure what the point is. Sell with an eye to next year & 2024, play kids, treat it like an extended spring training from July-September.
   6. Rally Posted: May 10, 2022 at 01:29 PM (#6076075)
Corey Seager: batting 189/247/311 since Joe Maddon gave him the Barry Bonds treatment and confused the hell out of him.

I was too quick to judge.
   7. Rally Posted: May 10, 2022 at 01:33 PM (#6076076)
I don’t think you can make the playoffs with a .500 record, but you’ll be within striking distance. Any team that can play .500 ball for 5 months has a chance to get hot in September. Without looking it up, my guess is the 6th best record in a league probably averages 85 wins.
   8. Rally Posted: May 10, 2022 at 01:40 PM (#6076077)
Off a little bit. For full seasons 2012-21, 6th best team averaged 86.7 wins.
   9. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 10, 2022 at 01:43 PM (#6076078)
Where are we with a .500 season as opposed to a .400 or .375 season that gets us in a better position for a Top-6 pick (or hell even the best non-lottery pick)? I mean, I suppose all in all I'd rather not be curb-stomped for 4 more months but I'm not sure I'd even try for .500 if Bloom & Co. think the playoffs is out of reach.


I want to field the best team possible and try to win games. I enjoy watching games, I enjoy going to games, so for me a .500 team is MUCH better than a .375 season.
   10. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 10, 2022 at 01:55 PM (#6076080)
Unfortunately, they're not gonna "play the kids" because MLB teams play the "service time" game. We're stuck with this team. They will sell at the deadline (bye bye, Bogaerts...if the return is better than what they'd get for letting him walk...either way, bye bye...bye bye JD...my lips to god's ear, please...bye bye..well, they really don't have anyone 30+ of any value, unless you think someone will give ups anything worthwhile for Vazquez...which I doubt).


.500 is optimistic. They may finish behind the O's, and they deserve to.
   11. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: May 10, 2022 at 02:07 PM (#6076082)
For me, unless you can make the playoffs with a .500 record, I'm not sure what the point is.

The point is that you don't burn your existing base of fan support to the ground then salt the earth beneath them as teams do when they conduct large-scale everything-must-go fire sales. This notion that if you're not going to the playoffs, then you need to race to the bottom of the standings is something Rob Manfred should be taking the lead on withholding revenue sharing payola from teams that engage in it, but he's too busy whoring the game out to Big Gambling and chasing pink hats overseas by playing not-baseball.
   12. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 10, 2022 at 02:11 PM (#6076083)
Boston’s starters have a 3.28 ERA, 4th in the AL, pretty good. Their relief pitchers are at 4.19, 14th in the AL, so that’s where the problem is (not counting the offense). With current usage patterns, reinforced by the shortened spring training, it’s probably going to be difficult to lean on the starters much more. Might be time to audition their better minor league arms for 2022 relief roles - try half a dozen, hope to find 2 or 3.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: May 10, 2022 at 04:15 PM (#6076098)
Leaving aside whether it's ever a good idea, you don't burn things to the ground over one bad season. What kind of long-term planning is that? It's one thing if you're the 2021 Cubs and nearly all of your good players are pending FAs but the Red Sox have Story, X (if you can convince him not to opt out), Devers, Verdugo, Whitlock, that 1B prospect you guys like and a few other maybe not useless pitchers tied up for the next few seasons. That's a good core and it's not particularly old. Things might go badly awry this year but that's a team with plenty of potential over the next few years.
   14. The Duke Posted: May 10, 2022 at 04:33 PM (#6076101)
9. Amen. Yet another reason why it's not as fun to go the ballpark. What's wrong with .500? Fans love to see a competitive home team.
   15. The Duke Posted: May 10, 2022 at 04:35 PM (#6076103)
Even the cubs could have bounced back quickly. I think they wanted Correa. Imagine them with him. Much better team plus it means they could add a pitcher or two and make a run for the playoffs.
   16. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 10, 2022 at 04:48 PM (#6076106)
13...if you were referring to my post, I'm only advocating they get rid of older players, and I'm assuming Bogaerts will leave.
   17. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 10, 2022 at 04:49 PM (#6076107)
15...hey! Maybe they'll overpay for Bogaerts?
   18. Walt Davis Posted: May 10, 2022 at 05:13 PM (#6076112)
#16 ... I was referring to the "spirit" of 5, 9, 11 which was essentially a discussion of the wisdom of tanking. As to your post, sure, any pending FAs might as well go out the door if the Sox are out of it by mid-July -- they might even be able to re-sign any they want back. The big question there is what it would take to keep X. The big SS market wasn't so awesome this past offseason -- Seager got the big payday, Correa got the expected AAV but about 7 fewer years, Baez and Story did fine but only a bit better than what Bogaerts already has. Those deals take them through 34, you might well convince Bogaerts to stay for 5/$115-120. And if Correa opts out, he'll have some big competition on the market.
   19. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 10, 2022 at 05:19 PM (#6076115)
So it's unlikely the Cubs will overpay for Bogaerts unless they can sign him for beyond 2022.
   20. Jay Seaver Posted: May 10, 2022 at 05:21 PM (#6076116)
Where are we with a .500 season as opposed to a .400 or .375 season that gets us in a better position for a Top-6 pick (or hell even the best non-lottery pick)?


As a person with 9 more tickets in the Ballpark app and a lot of free evenings over the next five months, I want them to be fun. Also, I could get hit by a bus before a slightly higher draft pick makes it to the major leagues.

I mean, don't get me wrong, championships are great fun, but if they're evenly distributed, they're a once in a generation thing, so it makes more sense to me to think of the playoffs as bonus time and want the team to maximize good baseball every day (which can maybe lead to a hot streak and a well-timed run in October) rather than dink around and completely punt today for tomorrow..
   21. Walt Davis Posted: May 10, 2022 at 08:30 PM (#6076137)
So it's unlikely the Cubs will overpay for Bogaerts unless they can sign him for beyond 2022.

It is unlikely the 10-18 Cubs will have any short-term ambitions come July other than trading Willson and the other short-timers for anything they can get. If you want to swap X for Willson in a sort of "can either team get a long-term extension signed" challenge, that might be possible.
   22. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 12, 2022 at 02:31 PM (#6076451)
In today's Athletic Jim Bowden suggests that the Red Sox trade Bogaerts to the Cards for a 22 yo prospect named Gorman, a 2b/3b who hits. Predicated on the Cards working out an 8 yr, 216M deal with him.

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