“If we play up to our capabilities we will easily make the playoffs. That’s how I see it,” Red Sox principal owner John Henry told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford in London this weekend before Boston’s two-game series with the Yankees. The Sox dropped both of those games to fall 11 games behind New York in the AL East standings, and two games out of an AL wild card slot.
At just 44-40 on the season, the Sox are far behind the pace set by their 2018 World Series team, which won 108 games in the regular season and then went 11-3 in the playoffs to capture the franchise’s fourth Commissioner’s Trophy since 2004. The Red Sox haven’t won back-to-back titles, however, and Henry noted that following up a championship run has been a challenge.
While this year’s Red Sox seem decidedly better than the 2014 team that finished in the AL East basement, Henry noted that in both 2014 and 2019, the club didn’t make many roster alternations over the winter.
“My take is that maybe it isn’t the best thing in the world to bring back the same team in its entirety every time,” Henry said. “You don’t want to break a team down. But maybe a few changes wouldn’t hurt. But the feeling is always different after you win, apparently.”
On paper, there wasn’t really too much for the Sox to address over their quiet offseason, though their lack of bullpen depth was seen as a problem in March and has blossomed into a full-blown concern as we enter July. While Boston’s bullpen and starting pitchers still rank in the top half of the league in most statistical categories (Sox relievers lead the league in K/9), both have been prone to breakdowns at inopportune times. The rotation has been largely carried by David Price and Chris Sale, the latter of whom has looked like his traditionally dominant self after a subpar April. But Rick Porcelloand Eduardo Rodriguez haven’t pitched well, while the fifth starter’s spot has been a revolving door of shaky performances since Nathan Eovaldi has spent much of the year on the injured list.