The Red Sox entered the 2019 All-Star break winners of five of their last six after returning from London. At 49-41 headed into the four-day hiatus last month, they stood just two games behind the Cleveland Indians for the second American League Wild Card spot.
Since that time, the 2019 campaign has begun to unravel for the defending World Series champions. That much is evident by how this current eight-game tail spin now has them at 10-14 since the break, which is the fourth-worst record in the American League over that span behind only the Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, and Seattle Mariners, three teams not trying to compete for anything this year.
Despite those poor results, the Red Sox lead all of baseball over that time in runs scored, as they have plated 143 runs over their last 24 games. or in other words, are averaging 5.94 runs per game since the All-Star break.
Sure, there have been some blowouts mixed in there that may skew the numbers, but it goes without saying that the Sox have one of the better offenses in baseball that can compete with anyone at any given time.
That said, it becomes difficult to continuosly produce at a rampant rate when you’re falling behind early in games, which leads me to my next point.
To put it simply, Red Sox starting pitchers have not carried their weight this season.
David Price, Rick Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi, and Chris Sale are four of the highest paid non-position players on this staff, earning $31 million, $20.6 million, $16.9 million, and $15 million in 2019 respectively.
Per FanGraphs, Boston starters rank 20th out of the 30 big league clubs in ERA (5.07) and 14th in fWAR (8.3) since the start of the season. Going back to the start of the second half, they rank 27th in ERA (6.40) and 27th in fWAR (0.3) over these last 24 games.
The rotation was supposed to be the strength of this Red Sox team and instead has turned into one of their bigger weaknesses. The fact that the Sox are 17-27 in games started by Price or Sale this year is crazy enough.
Among qualified American League starters, Porcello ranks second-to-last in ERA (5.74) and third-to-last in xFIP (5.27) through 22 starts and 122 1/3 innings pitches so far this season.
Eovaldi, meanwhile, has been moved to the bullpen after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies from his right elbow back in April.
Andrew Cashner was brought over from the Baltimore Orioles in a three-player trade last month in hopes of stabilizing the back-end of Boston’s rotation.
The 32-yar-old has averaged close to six innings per start since making his Red Sox debut on July 16th, but he has also surrendered 18 earned runs over 23 1/3 innings pitched in that four start span, which is good for an ERA of 6.94.
Eduardo Rodriguez has been one of the few bright spots pitching-wise for Boston overall, as he leads the team in starts (23), wins (13), innings pitched (135 1/3), and ERA (4.19).
All in all, if the Red Sox have any shot of digging themselves out this hole they have dug for themselves in the Wild Card race, starting pitching needs to improve immensely. If it doesn’t, the 2019 season will more than likely go for naught.