After clinching the AL’s No. 1 Wild Card spot in 2021, the Red Sox haven’t made any notable improvements heading into 2022. Read to find out why Boston shouldn’t expect their beloved Sox to have another winning season.
Why you shouldn’t anticipate another playoff season for the Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are coming off a 92-70 season in which they made it all the way to the American League Championship Series, losing in six games to the Houston Astros. It’s fair to say that the Red Sox exceeded expectations in 2021 and still have a strong lineup.
However, with the Yankees’ recent pickups, Boston has had the comparatively worst offseason of any team in the AL East, save for possibly the Baltimore Orioles. With the competitive nature of the division, the Red Sox are in serious danger of lagging behind this season.
The Red Sox will sport virtually the same lineup from 2021, with the exception of last season’s trade deadline acquisition, outfielder Kyle Schwarber. This is still a stacked lineup with big names like Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez all returning to the lineup in 2022.
Devers finished tied for 4th in RBI last season with 113 and top 10 in home runs with 38 and finished 11th in MVP voting and earned a Silver Slugger award. Bogaerts finished with a very impressive .295 batting average with 23 homers, 79 RBI and an .863 OPS and Martinez put up similarly impressive numbers with a .286 clip, 28 homers, 99 RBI and an .867 OPS.
The Red Sox ranked third best in team batting average (.261) and hits (1434), 5th in runs (829) and 10th in home runs (219). In fact, the Red Sox ranked in the top 10 in almost every standard offensive category.
The lineup’s skill and prowess is formidable, but the real issue lies with Boston’s rotation and bullpen. The 2021 numbers weren’t great as the Red Sox finished by giving up the third most hits (ahead of only the Orioles and Diamondbacks), 8th highest WHIP, 12th most walks and the 5th worst opponent batting average at .258. They unfortunately lost left-handed starter Eduardo Rodriguez in free agency. Rodriguez was a key component of their 2021 rotation and his absence in this season’s rotation will undeniably be felt. To compound their pitching issues, it was just announced on Wednesday that 7x All-Star Chris Sale will be out for Opening Day due to a stress fracture in his rib cage.
With Rodriguez now on the Detroit Tigers and Sale out for Opening Day, Boston’s rotation is looking shaky to say the least. As it stands, Nathan Eovaldi would be towing the rubber for the Red Sox versus the Yankees on April 7th, with Nick Pivetta, Rich Hill, Tanner Houck and possibly Michael Wacha behind him.
The bullpen was slightly better with a 3.99 team ERA. However, it certainly had its issues as Boston’s relief men finished tied for the 7th highest WHIP, 7th most walks surrendered and 11th most hits.
The Red Sox having the 7th highest payroll in MLB makes it that much more baffling that their biggest pitching addition was Rich Hill. The Red Sox missed out on every big name pitcher on the market this offseason. After the rotation’s poor numbers in 2021, you’d think that General Manager Brian O’Halloran would’ve made more efforts to improve in that department; especially after a 92 win season.
The fact of the matter is that the Red Sox made no significant offseason additions to improve their weak points as a team and lost out on one of their big starters. They have a great lineup with a lot of power and speed throughout, but it’s pitching that wins ball games these days.
The Blue Jays, Rays and Yankees are all looking to have better rotations than the Red Sox this season with the Blue Jays and Rays both being the better overall units by a wide margin heading into 2022. This season will be a test for Boston and right now fans should be wary about the issues facing them as Opening Day approaches.
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