As of Wednesday, they had the second-worst record in the American League and were last in the AL East. The start of the Boston Red Sox has been little short of a nightmare.
The 2018 champions rank 27th in runs scored in MLB. His WRC+ (Weighted Runs Created) of 83 indicates his offense has been 17% worse than average in a season where he’s not hitting.
Outside of Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and JD Martinez, input from the other members of the lineup has been woefully lacking. Especially worrying has been the start of Trevor Story, supposed to provide a significant share of power and race production. The infielder hit his first home run on Wednesday and has his average hovering around .200 points.
But Story has not been the only problem. The Red Sox have five regulars whose OPS+ range from 33 to 67, all abysmally below league average.
The offense has been hyper aggressive, with poor results. Hitters have swung at more than half the pitches they’ve seen, and created the second-most outs when attacking the first pitch.
The bullpen has been another trouble spot, blowing nine of 15 save opportunities.
The collapse of former closer Matt Barnes since the tail end of last season has been as sudden as it is enigmatic. Since he signed a contract extension last July, he has a 6.92 ERA in 33 regular-series appearances.
The absence of Chris Sale, coupled with recent injuries to Michael Wacha and Rich Hill, has left the rotation shallow, forcing manager Alex Cora to use Garrett Whitlock as a starter. Thus he lost his best option to close matches.
The only bright spot for the successful franchise is that 80% of the game schedule is still ahead.
However, in such a competitive division, solutions have to come sooner rather than later. At some point we could see prospect Triston Casas replacing Bobby Dalbec at first.
But the Red Sox will also need a quick offensive improvement, the return of their injured starters and a better bullpen job of protecting leads.