BOSTON – Time to start playing the spoiler, I suppose.
With an 82-75 record, the Boston Red Sox have been officially eliminated from post-season contention during the 2019 season. I know, it hurts to write. It's the first time a team from Boston has missed the playoffs since I started writing for UpToBoston (and yes, I know this makes me a spoiled sports fan, but I've been that for years by now).
Many could attribute missing the playoffs just one year after a World Series championship to the fact that the team underperformed, but not me. I thought the offense was spectacular this year and, arguably, better than last year. Christian Vazquez reminded me that catchers can, in fact, still hit the ball. Rafael Devers reaffirmed every gut feeling I had about him. Xander Bogaerts showed that Dave Dombrowski did make some good contract decisions. Michael Chavis gave me hope for the future. Andrew Benintendi became one of the game's most solid players. Brock Holt reminded me of Kevin Millar. And Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez established a real Sophie's Choice going forward.
No, the team did not underperform. That honor would belong to the pitching staff, which started out shaky and never improved. And this goes for both the starters and the bullpen. Although, it can be hard to improve when injuries begin to pile up and the front office refuses to address the bullpen concerns with any tangible solution.
There's a silver lining to the pitching staff, though. Eduardo Rodriguez is going for his twentieth win of the season in the year's finale against the abysmal Baltimore Orioles. We should all be pulling for him!
With just two games left against the Texas Rangers and a three game home set against the Orioles, Boston will end the year on September 29 and we will have to wait five long months for them to return. It's odd, too, because Boston usually finishes in first or last place. It's been since 2010 that we had a third place finish. And we are going to have an interesting off-season because of it.
Here's to having a great last five games! Let's get to a very respectable 87 wins, what do ya say, Boston?