It’s Officially Time to Hit the Panic Button on the Red Sox Title Hopes

The Boston Red Sox continued their recent slump with another embarrassing defeat on Friday night. A 12-4 thrashing at the hands of the division rival Toronto Blue Jays. Losses like these were hard to find in the first half of the season. Lately, they seem to have become a daily occurrence.

Boston is just 9-11 since the All-Star break. They’ve lost 8 of their last 10 games.

The pitching, which was never truly great to begin with, has officially fallen apart. At least in the first half of the season the pitching was serviceable, now it’s downright abysmal.

To make matters worse, the team’s bats have cooled off too. An offense that looked unstoppable for most of the year now struggles to put up runs on the board even against the likes of the Detroit Tigers. I’m not kidding on that one, the Sox scored just seven runs total in their three game series with Detroit this past week. The Red Sox of June would have scored seven in one game no problem.

To an optimist, this slump may be looked at as simply part of the game. The best teams have their skids. In a 162-game season, you’re going to have your scoring droughts and rough stretches. Boston really went without one all year, so you could argue they were due. However, I fear this isn’t just some skid. This isn’t just something they can “shake off” in no time.

What’s happening here is all of Boston’s weaknesses have finally come to light. The Sox were able to keep them at bay for a while, but this team very much needed reinforcements at the deadline. If they were going to seriously contend, they needed to fix some of these major underlying issues.

They failed to do any of that, and now pay the price. Red Sox GM Chaim Bloom really didn’t make any major moves, save for the acquisition of OF Kyle Schwarber. Wait, I got that wrong. It’s now 1B Kyle Schwarber? This doesn’t seem like an experiment that will end particularly well.

I am actually a big fan of Schwarber personally and was excited when I heard the news, until I heard Boston’s plan for him. The man has just never played first base before. He is currently rehabbing a pretty bad hamstring injury. Schwarber will have to learn to play an unfamiliar position in the matter of weeks. I know Schwarber was cheaper, but could Boston really not afford Anthony Rizzo?

The Schwarber move to me made it very clear what the front office thought of this team and its title hopes. They weren’t as optimistic as the fans or the players. I know Bloom doesn’t want to go all Dave Dombrowski on us and blow up the farm system again. At the same time, if you’re serious about winning, you’ve got to put your chips on the table.

Make fun of Dombrowski if you want, but his methods got the Red Sox a championship. His pricey moves for guys like David Price, Chris Sale, and Craig Kimbrel laid the groundwork for a title run. Boston badly needed to purchase some upgrades if they wanted to go on a run. Instead, they did next to nothing and allowed their AL rivals to get better.

The Yankees, Blue Jays, White Sox, and Athletics all made major moves at the deadline. Many of the players they traded for were those who Boston was connected to. Imagine if the Red Sox had Jose Berrios and Anthony Rizzo right now? The Blue Jays and Yankees would both be worse off, and Boston would have the necessary reinforcements to make a deep run.

They didn’t need Max Scherzer or Kris Bryant to contend, but they needed something.

The Rays have now taken over control of the AL East, and the Yankees and Blue Jays are gaining more and more ground. A Red Sox team that looked like a favorite to represent the AL in the World Series may now have a hard time making the playoffs. That is unbelievable to say considering where this team was just a month ago.

I’m sure it won’t be this bad all the way to the end. I’m sure Boston will snap out of it for at least a little while. This will be a tight battle all the way to the end now, which didn’t look like it would be the case weeks ago.

I will make it official here and now: I don’t believe the Red Sox can win it all this year. I don’t even think they’ll make the World Series. Heck, the ALCS may be out of reach at this point.

If you still think this team can win a championship this year, I think it’s time you slam that panic button. I slammed mine personally on Deadline Day.

I’m not giving up on the playoffs just yet. I still believe Boston can make it, albeit as a Wild Card team. Unless Chris Sale and Nathan Eovaldi magically find their 2018 playoff forms, I just don’t see a deep run in the cards.

This tweet from David Wade 100% nails my feelings on the whole situation. I hope I’m wrong, but it really does feel like the title run we were all hoping for just isn’t going to happen anymore.

Image: (AP Photo/Scott Audette)

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