Red Sox season preview: Can this team make the playoffs in the shortened season?

Tomorrow the Boston Red Sox will kick off their shortened 60 game season. It will be an interesting season even without that short sprint to the World Series. Don’t expect the Red Sox to be serious contenders, but maybe they sneak in as a wild card team and then get sent packing. The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays are superior teams right now and it’s not really close, but right now anything can happen.

If I was a betting man, I’d suggest going over on the amount of runs for each game the Red Sox play. While their lineup is still relatively deep, the pitching is the exact opposite. The lineup will produce runs, that wasn’t a question when you have JD Martinez, Rafael Devers, and Xander Bogaerts. Secondary pieces like Andrew Benintendi and Michael Chavis need to step up and have big seasons if the postseason is going to be a thing for this team. Even without Mookie Betts this lineup is still one of the best in the game.

The rotation will ultimately be the downfall of this team. There were really only four starters last year, and three of them aren’t going to be pitching for us this season. The rotation really starts and ends with Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi, and Rodriguez isn’t even healthy after coming down with corona. Even with the bullpen, it will be a struggle to watch this staff labor through 9 innings on a nightly basis. They’ll let up a ton of runs, so the lineup is gonna need to produce to keep themselves in the game. And when the pitchers perform, they need to capitalize and win those winnable games.

A realistic expectation would be in 3rd place right around the .500 mark and falling short of the playoffs. The team will definitely need to look into pitching options this upcoming free agency, and without having to worry about Betts now that shouldn’t be an issue.

(Originally posted on July 23, 2020)

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