RIP 2019 Boston Red Sox

Well, that was the worst stretch of baseball since the ol’ Bobby Valentine days. After 8 straight losses to the Yankees and Rays, the Sox season is effectively over. We’re now 14.5 games back of the Yankees and 6.5 games back of the Rays. Our only hope of making the playoffs would be to catch the Rays, but considering they just swept us for only the second time in their history and in doing so became the first team to win 8 games at Fenway in a single season since before the Apollo moon landing, that’s it. We’re finished.

A lot of people were surprised when the Sox didn’t make any moves at the deadline, and will hence blame Dave Dombrowski for this missed opportunity. For anyone with even the slightest interest in this team, it’s clear this pitching staff needs help. While everyone around us improved, Dombrowski stood pat. Although he is far from the genius he seems to fancy himself, I honestly don’t have much of a problem with it, and I’ll tell you why.

If your employees do something really well, you pay them for it. If, after you start paying them well, they suddenly stop doing the job well, do you just bail them out and bring in someone else? Do you continue to drive up your personal costs just because the people you know to be good at what they do suddenly stop being effective? No. You either fire them or make them clean up their own damn mess. And since I don’t expect anyone to be fired during the season, there’s only one option. This dumpster fire of a week only solidifies that mindset for me.

I like to imagine I’m Porcello and the Sox pitching staff is the TVs.

Before getting all riled up about how bad our pitching is, let’s first talk about something positive. I’ve seen many people, including some here at The 300s, talking about how this season has been awful. It really hasn’t been ALL bad. Our offense is fantastic. We currently rank first in all of baseball in Runs, Hits, Doubles, Batting Average and RBI’s, second in Total Bases and On-Base Percentage, fourth in Slugging and OPS, and eighth in Home Runs. That’s pretty damn impressive. Just ask Rick Porcello, who’s been getting record run support over the last month or so.

Image result for chris sale swearing at ump
Chris Sale wasn’t happy with the umps against the Yankees yesterday, but he has bigger problems to worry about.

Now for the bad….I don’t buy the notion submitted by Boston sports radio that our bullpen is the biggest problem. The bullpen sucks, don’t get me wrong. But our current rotation of Sale (4.68 ERA), Price (4.36), Porcello (5.74), Rodriguez (4.19) and Cashner (6.94 with Boston) is making $80 million this year, Eovaldi (6.66) is making $17 million, and…oh yeah, Sale signed a $145 million contract extension to start the season. The salaries of those six pitchers is more than the entire payroll of the Athletics, Orioles, Pirates, White Sox, Marlins, and Rays. Two of those teams are ahead of us in the Wild Card race right now.

For further proof that our starters are the issue, look no further than this week. Starting with the Rays series, the starters allowed 4, 6, 7, 4, 8, 3 and 7 runs. They didn’t make it out of the fifth during five of those starts, and the dude who gave up that lowly 3 number only pitched 3 innings. That means during this 8-game stretch, our starters have a combined ERA of over 10!!! That’s beyond atrocious. It’s hard to win games when you’re constantly coming from behind, and it’s even harder when the people getting paid to be the best are the ones digging you those holes. No offense in the history of the league could keep up with that level of terrible.

Sounding optimistic, Dombrowski still believes…or so he says.

So when it all comes down to it, I’m with Dombrowski, if not necessarily with the reasoning he gave in his post-deadline press conferences. Either pitch better or miss the playoffs, but we’re not sacrificing future talent for only a minor piece to the puzzle. After all, Andrew Cashner was pitching quite well before coming here and look what he’s done. We don’t need to win every year, and since I know this team is capable of playing championship ball they can figure it out themselves. If that doesn’t happen, I’d expect Dana LeVangie to be looking for a job come winter time and a major shakeup of the pitching staff. If we do miss the playoffs, fine. It’ll be Patriots season by then anyway…..ugh. I need a drink.

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