BOSTON – The 2019 Boston Red Sox season has now concluded. Please collect your belongings and proceed to the nearest exit in an orderly fashion. Thank you for watching the 2019 Red Sox and, please, watch your step.
Unfortunately, it is true. The MLB post-season will commence without the inclusion of the Red Sox for the first time since 2015. Usually, we get a whole extra month of baseball to follow and while that is still true, it won't be the same without the beloved boys from Boston playing in October.
Personally, I've jumped on the Atlanta Braves bandwagon, but feel free to root for any team you'd like for the next month, so long as it's not the New York Yankees.
The 2019 season was fumbled right out of the gate for the Red Sox and while they were able to right the ship, they were never able to fully regain the dominance that defined their 2018 World Series championship run. I don't believe that the 2018 season was a fluke, but I do believe that was when we saw this team's peak. When they're on, they're unstoppable. If they're off, they're middling. It's the story of most teams, but it's definitely true for the Red Sox, who never quite found their footing, thanks to inconsistent pitching. The season was one of frustration, but at least it ended in jubilation.
A 5-4 victory punctuated the year for Boston as they raked in a walk-off win over the visiting Baltimore Orioles in an effort led by Mookie Betts (more on him in a second). It was a thrilling finish that ultimately doesn't matter, but, hey. At least we were able to feel good.
Boston finished 84-78 (84 is my favorite number at least), which is respectable and I am thankful they did not finish below .500. That would be even more embarrassing. They did finish 19 games back in the American League East in third place and 12 games back in the Wild Card, however. This is decidedly not great.
But yes, pitching will likely be infamously remembered in 2019 as Chris Sale and David Price went down with injuries after they were already pitching semi-poorly. The bullpen was catastrophic and the Red Sox never had a catcher all year. The only move they made was to acquire Andrew Cashner, who saved neither the starting rotation nor the bullpen. This, of course, led to the ousting of general manager Dave Dombrowski.
There were plenty of bright spots, though. Brandon Workman became a reliable reliever for Boston and Eduardo Rodriguez made a case for himself as the team's ace by leading his teammates in earned run average with 3.81 and wins with nineteen, just barely missing out on a nice, round twenty.
Offense was the story for Boston, though, as they had the best in the entire league, in many categories. Betts once again led the league in runs scored with 135, but Rafael Devers was right there with him with 129. Devers had an amazing year by hitting .311 with 32 home runs, 54 doubles, 115 RBIs, and 201 total hits. Xander Bogaerts similarly had a career year with a .309 average, 33 home runs, 52 doubles, 117 RBIs, and 190 hits. J.D. Martinez maintained consistency with a .304 average and a team-leading 36 homers.
Christian Vazquez, Andrew Benintendi, Brock Holt, and Michael Chavis also turned in surprisingly solid years all around and Jackie Bradley, Jr. remained one of the game's best defenders.
Fortunately, Bogaerts is already locked up with a major contract extension and they are aiming to provide the same to Devers. I am in love with this offense and I don't want to see it broken up anytime soon.
Unfortunately, we may have to endure such a process as rumblings in the Red Sox organization indicate that the team is looking to play small ball in the salary negotiations, which would likely lead to the departure of either Betts or Martinez. Many teammates even felt that Sunday's season finale was a farewell to Betts. It would be insane for the Red Sox to not retain him, but we'll have plenty of time to talk about that going forward.
All in all, it was a roller coaster season for the Red Sox that had way more valleys than peaks. There's a lot to love about this team still and I hope the front office doesn't decide to blow things up just to save a buck. We're a big market team. We don't have to be afraid of it. We just have to be afraid of middling outcomes like the 2019 season.