To say the season started slowly for the Boston Red Sox would be a colossal understatement. In the month of April the Sox boasted a 9-13 record, mostly against divisional opponents like the Yankees, Blue Jays and even Orioles.
Since the beginning of May they have held a meager 12-10 record while chasing a mediocre '.500' mark, sitting at 21-23 currently. However on the season statistically, the team has numbers that reflect a much different story, no pun intended.
The team's current league ranking for batting average at .255 is good for third and fifth for slugging percentage at .409. They also rank second in the American League in Runs Scored and first in their pennant for hits. On trend over the last five years or so, this team is known for having great bats which always seem to carry the defensive side of the mound. This year is no different, especially with the moves Chaim Bloom made for his team this offseason; adding hitters and losing pitchers. The team's pitching ranks are closer o the middle of the pack, with the eighth ranked ERA at 3.83 and fourteenth, (or second to last) for HR's allowed at 54 in just 44 games. The team has been good at one area, strikeouts, boasting the fourth most in the league at 387.
The true downfall of the Red Sox this year has been their clutch factor in their pitchers. The Red Sox are twenty-second in the league for Quality Starts, a statistic that measures how many times the team's starting pitcher has at least six innings of work. With only 10 Quality Starts in 44 games played, the Red Sox have had a lot of trouble starting the game off well and are forced to rely on their relievers. Even more unfortunate for the Lovable Losers is that their relief pitching staff is their worst group on the team. With only 8 saves made in 19 appearances, the Red Sox not only have the worst save percentage in the entire MLB, but they have the most blown saves at 11.
What has started as a truly dismal beginning of the year for the team's pitching has luckily been overshadowed by the bats to such a point that the Sox sit at eighth in the American League, poised to make a huge leap in the standings over the next month. The reason for this momentum can be attributed to a couple different things.
The First Reason For Hope is Trevor Story. The newest member of the Boston Red Sox had one of the worst starts of anyone on the roster, batting under .200 for the first 27 games while dealing with an injury. In his previous seven games Story has been white hot, going 10-for-33 with 7 home runs and 21 runs batted in. His performance to start this streak was a historic one. Against the Mariners on May 19th, He went 4-for-5 with 3 home runs and 7 runs batted in. Story has been moved to 5th in the batting lineup, completing the murderer's row behind Devers, Martinez and Bogaerts in the heart of the Sox' order.
The Second Reason For Hope is the impending return of "Ace" Chris Sale. On Wednesday of this week, Sale threw a 15-pitch bullpen session and was reportedly, "very happy with how it went." He's scheduled to throw another session with more pitches this afternoon and continue the pattern next week. It should not be understated as to how important the return of a healthy Chris Sale will be for this team, not only for their starting rotation but also for their relievers. Once Sale is moved back to his "Ace" role, this will allow Alex Cora and crew to move a pitcher to the long reliever role, most likely being Garrett Whitlock. This shuffling will give the team more flexibility, and with everything going as it should, will allow for more quality starts and rest for the bullpen. Sale went 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA last year in only 9 games started last year after recovering from Tommy John Surgery in March of 2020. This season he has already been dealing with a stress fracture in his ribs and the 33-year old has seemed optimistic to lose as little of the season as possible.
The Third Reason For Hope is what we're going to call the Red Sox Spirit in the second halves of the season. This team has been a "second half team" since the turn of the millennium, constantly putting together win streaks and clutching up in August and September. The Sox consistently make up their best batters with young and smart ball players, increasing their durability especially down the home stretch. This reason may be a stretch but for Red Sox fans, the feeling and spirit of the team to get better throughout the season is not only hopeful but it's natural. The team will always be right there at the end of the year and whether they squeak into a wild card spot or come up short in the tiebreaker game, we can be sure that they will have left it all out on the diamond and made us proud.
Make sure to check out more sports media content at fansonlysportz.com
Stay tuned as we follow the Boston Red Sox and the entire MLB throughout the 2022 season.