For the first time in a full season since 2015, the Boston Red Sox -- who were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday night -- appear ticketed for last place in the AL East. It was a pretty weird season in Boston.
It's actually been a pretty weird ride for the Red Sox the last five seasons, given the variation. Let's take a look:
2018: 108 wins -- most in franchise history -- and World Series championship
2019: Missed playoffs, traded Mookie Betts in the ensuing offseason
2020: Last in AL East and, well, it was 2020
2021: Beat Yankees in Wild Card Game, toppled No. 1 seed Rays in ALDS, had 2-1 lead in ALCS and were six outs away from a 3-1 lead before blowing Game 4 and losing Games 5 and 6 vs. the Astros
As for this season, the Red Sox started 10-19 and looked every bit a non-contender. But then they kicked things into gear and looked the part of a serious threat in the American League. Fast-forward through a win on June 26 in Cleveland and the Red Sox were 42-31, which was the third-best AL record behind the Yankees and Astros.
Of course, the Red Sox have been one of the worst teams in the league since (30-49). They went 10-19 then 32-12 and then 30-49 and will likely finish the 2022 campaign on the wrong side of .500.
What went wrong
There were certainly issues on the offensive side, at times, but this mostly a pitching thing. Red Sox pitchers collectively have posted an ERA over five since the All-Star break and, on the whole, rank toward the bottom of the league in most pitching categories while they've generally had a good offense. They are fourth in the AL in runs but 13th in ERA .
Some of this could be blamed on injuries. Chris Sale only made two starts. Nathan Eovaldi has made 18. Neither Michael Wacha nor Rich Hill will make 30 starts. Tanner Houck and Garrett Whitlock ended up bouncing between the rotation, bullpen and injured list. Yes, the bullpen had its share of injuries, too.