July 2019 Check-In: Boston Red Sox
BOSTON - With free agency upon us in the NBA, it seems like the league will be experiencing more parity than ever before, with top players spreading themselves out to more teams than just the Golden State Warriors. This has always been the case with the MLB, as evidenced by the fact that last year's champion Boston Red Sox currently have a 44-40 record, but are just two games back of having the fifth best record in the entire league. That's baseball for you!
Unfortunately for the Red Sox, two of those top teams are in the American League East. Currently, they are 11 games back of the New York Yankees for first place in the division and four and a half games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for second. As for the wild card standings, Boston is two games back of a spot in the post-season.
All in all, it's not as bad as many Sox fans might expect as a result of the team's middling efforts this season, though it's certainly an underachievement compared to the pre-season expectations for the reigning champions. Boston went 15-12 in June, which is better than their abysmal April, but not enough to make a dent on the massive leads teams have cultivated around them.
Fortunately, in spite of reduced production from J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts, the team has found other sources for offense, including Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers. Additionally, the starting pitching has begun to solidify as one of the strongest elements of the team. The problem right now for the team is the depth of the bullpen.
With half the season over, the All-Star break almost upon us, and the trade deadline rapidly approaching, the Red Sox need to make a move. This team is strong and talented, but even Alex Cora is upset with the results (and viscerally so). I am not sure which bullpen arms out there can give the Red Sox a boost, but Nathan Eovaldi is not the answer at the closer position. It's long past time for Boston to go after better bullpen pieces and an actual closer. That has to be the mission of this month of July, or else the team may never come close to the month of October.
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