We’re now into September (I swear, waiting until September 1st was intentional in this case), and the Red Sox are 93-43. That puts them on pace for 110 or 111 wins, depending on if you round up. The Red Sox have had a great season, but they’ve also run into their worst rut of said season of late.
Since the Rays series that began on August 17th (basically a two week sample), the Sox are 7-7. This is the worst 14 game stretch of the season for the Red Sox, tying a similar 7-7 stretch that occurred between April 21st and May 5th. To recall, the games we lost in that 7-7 stretch were to the Athletics (twice), Blue Jays, Rays (twice), Royals, and Rangers.
One parallel in both snapshots, is that the Rays have played the Red Sox tough. The Sox have the edge in the season series, 11-8, but it doesn’t always feel that way. At any rate, no team has beaten the Sox more this season than the Rays, who own 8 of Boston’s 43 losses (the Yankees have beaten the Sox 5 times, and still have a handful of games left, so that may change).
It’s possible this is just a rut, filled with bad matchups against non-playoff teams. Other than the Indians, who the Red Sox split with, none of the teams the Red Sox have played recently are in the playoff picture. The Phillies and Sox did play a two game set in mid-August, but that’s a special case, and the Sox split with them besides.
It’s also possible that the Red Sox are just regressing to the mean after playing so well for three quarters of a season. The ghosts of 2011 are still fresh in everyone’s mind, and I’m sure if you go back further into history, people are having flashes of 1978. It’s unavoidable, so we may as well address the elephant in the room.
In either case, the Red Sox have played poorly recently. The offense has been relatively meek, and the bullpen has at times looked suspect (although I will note that over the last two weeks, the Sox bullpen is still in the top 10 in ERA, FIP, and xFIP). There’s a lot that could be going wrong. It’s also possible nothing is wrong, and it’s just bad sequencing.
So here’s our question:
How do you feel about the Red Sox right now? If you are concerned, why, and how do you propose the Red Sox fix things, now that the August trade deadline has passed? If you are not concerned, what do you point to, as evidence that things will be ok? What do you think is going to be the September X-Factor that determines our playoff seeding, and potentially our fate in the playoffs?
Hope to hear from you guys this weekend, we’ll go over any responses on Tuesday!