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Red Sox Report Card - September 2019

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Not exactly the way you want to close out the season, eh?

The Red Sox were eliminated from playoff contention a while ago, but you still have to play out the games. They ended the season at 84-78, a distant third in the division. They won just 11 of their 26 September contests – hardly an inspiring finish, though considering that there was nothing to really play for, it could have been worse.

The team was mediocre or worse in pretty much every aspect of the game in September, though there were a few bright spots – there always are. It was hardly the way the team expected to finish out a season in which they were the defending World Series champions, but that’s the joy and curse of this game – you never know how it’s going to play out.

It was a less-than-stellar final month, to be sure. A month that brought to a conclusion a disappointing season for the Red Sox. We’ll do a more in-depth post-mortem next week, after we’ve all had some time to process. But for now, let’s look at this kind of sad September.

On to the Report Card.

-

Hitting – C-

The offense was a far cry from the high-octane attack we saw midseason. The bats were largely anemic over the course of the month, landing in the bottom third of the league in just about every offensive category that matters. There were some high points – Mookie Betts closed out the season strong, slashing .354/.417/.646 in 65 September at-bats, while Xander Bogaerts drove in 17 while batting .315 with an OPS of .842. Mitch Moreland hit five homers and Rafael Devers scored 17. Alas, stalwarts like J.D. Martinez, Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr. put up numbers that ranged from below-average to execrable. The end result is an offense that simply couldn’t score enough runs to keep pace with the top of the division.

Starting Pitching – D+

Hard to believe that the rotation was worse than the offense, but the truth is that this group was situated toward the bottom of the league in most relevant numbers too. And they had fewer highlights; really, the only starting pitcher who had a good September was Eduardo Rodriguez, who went 3-1 with a 3.11 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 38 innings over six starts. Everyone else was actively bad. Three other pitchers made five September starts for Boston – Rick Porcello (2-2, 6.12 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 26 Ks in 25 innings) was the best of the bunch; Nathan Eovaldi (1-1, 5.55 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 24 Ks in 24 innings) and Jhoulys Chacin (0-2, 7.36 ERA, 1.57 WHIP in 15 innings). All in all, not a great month for Red Sox starters.

Bullpen – B-

This is an interesting group to grade, because there’s not much middle ground – guys were either great or terrible. On the good side, Brandon Workman did great work in the closer’s slot, going seven-for-seven in converting save chances while not giving up a run in a dozen appearances. He struck out 18 and had a WHIP of 0.79. Matt Barnes looked good as well, with a 1.59 ERA in 12 appearances, though he had control issues. Josh Taylor, Cory Brewer and Brian Poyner had good months as well. But man – they had some BAD relief performances. Marcus Walden (6.75 ERA), Andrew Cashner (6.08) and Trevor Kelley (6.14) pitched in 33 games between them. And guys like Ryan Weber (7.45) and Darwinzon Hernandez (13.50) – each in seven appearances – were EVEN WORSE.

Fielding – B-

It’s hard to care that much about Boston’s glovework when other aspects of the team’s performance were so below-par, but hey – at least they’ve been OK at catching the ball. The outfield defense – with Bradley Jr., Betts and Benintendi as the primaries – remained legit, though maybe not as strong as it showed in the past. Still – good stuff. In the infield, the left side is more talent than polish, but shortstop Bogaerts and third baseman Devers are capable of great play. The infield’s right side has had its share of issues with the glove. The catching situation was decent in September, and maybe even a little better than that.

Last modified on Tuesday, 01 October 2019 12:22

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