If the Red Sox keep with their present trend and miss the playoffs this year, I won’t be too mad. If they finish the season near 4th in the division, where many predicted they would, I’ll be thankful for the months of first place they gave us. You remember those months right? They seem like increasingly ancient history with every blown lead and anemic loss. Those were the months where the bullpen would pick up a flimsy pitching staff; a potent offense would outweigh weak pitching and sloppy defense; and right when the offense failed, a starter would seem to turn the corner with an elite performance. These were the months of comeback wins and two-strike hitting. These months may be over. And they may not.
If they are not over, we can enjoy a pennant race in a year that wasn’t really supposed to have one. Chaim Bloom has a solid track record and I fully believe the Red Sox will be even better next year than they are right now. That’s what Bloom has said he’s aiming for. I’ll take sustained success any day. If those winning months are not over, this Red Sox team can only benefit from this tough stretch. Whether it brings about needed lineup moves, lights a fire under some guys, or helps speed up some in-season adjustments, losing stretches like this can be great times of growth. That’s why I’m glad this is happening right now. Speaking of losing stretches, this ugly period has been the first of the season for these Red Sox.
The Blue Jays have had losing streaks of 5 and 6 games, and a 2-6 stretch.
The Rays have had losing streaks of 5 and 7 games, and a 3-7 stretch.
The Yankees, well, the Yankees played near .500 baseball for the entire first half.
The Red Sox haven't had a losing streak like their rivals until their current 3-11 showing. Before August 1st, they hadn’t lost 4 games in a row.
The Red Sox recent performance is disappointing. I have a hard time believing they will continue like this for the rest of the year. They may recover to play .500 level baseball until the season’s end, but I think they have a very good shot at returning to their early season form. The players have said throughout the season that they believed they were as good as their record says; they can still prove this true.
It may be deflating to see the trade deadline results, but I think the results are more of a coincidence than anything. The Red Sox may have lost some energy when reinforcements did not arrive, but I don’t think the MLB trades work like the NBA or even the NFL deadlines. Trades do not improve teams as much as we might think they do. Single players only marginally improve a baseball team; they can only field a certain number of balls and they can only hit a certain number of times. Sure, Rizzo and Gallo produced immediately while Schwarber doesn’t have a position or a healthy hamstring. Sure, Austin Davis and Hansel Robles have allowed 9 earned runs in 10 appearances. Baseball is not conducive to small sample sizes. Give these players time to adjust; there is still roughly two months left in the season.
Anthony Rizzo coming home to play first base would have solved many 2021 season problems. I think the front office is treating this season as a bonus, not a must-have. That’s why they didn’t move more pieces at the deadline. I don’t think the Red Sox needed major trade pieces to compete in this division; the next 43 games might prove me wrong, but I think this team has what it needs to win. This is not a talent problem; it’s a production problem. We’re not out of it yet.