The Silly Red Sox Thought It Would Be A Funny Prank If They Got Swept And Let The Yankees Back Into The Division Race

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox

Ha! Ohhhhhh, you funny little pranksters, you. Love this 2017 Red Sox team! Always trying to keep fans on their toes. Remember those NESN ratings that were down 20 percent at the start of the year? They are back UP, baby! 30.2 percent! See what a little winning does to get the fans interested again?

Spin zone: The Red Sox were TOO good, posting the best record in the majors over a two and a half week stretch and starting to run away with the division. And just like too much losing — too much winning can be boring, too. So these sly motherfuckers over on Yawkey Definitely Not Racist Anymore Way devised a plan to add some drama to the fold, and they went out and got swept by a team that was under .500 at the start of the series to tighten things up in the AL East. Brilliant! Nothing says “ratings” quite like a close pennant race.

Last Thursday, the Red Sox beat the hottest starting pitcher in baseball in Corey Kluber. With the Indians being the measuring stick in the American League, things were looking real good for Boston. They haven’t won a game since. Their current four-game losing streak matches their longest losing streak of the season. Over the losing streak, they’re hitting .097 with a .430 OPS with runners in scoring position, which one would assume would be the reason why they’ve been outscored 38-10 over their last four games.

Believe it or not, Mookie Betts is riding a six-game hitting streak. I was just as surprised as you to see that when I looked it up, because it feels like he’s been a ghost at the plate for quite some time. Obviously if you cast a wider net then it confirms that sentiment that he’s largely underperformed this year in comparison to his MVP runner-up performance last year. I only looked, because Betts left five men on base alone in Sunday’s loss, but since July 4, he’s hitting .230 with a .624 OPS and just three homers over his last 45 games. Certainly not what Red Sox fans expected to see after the season he had in 2016.

Rafael Devers had two hits on Sunday, which hopefully is the start of him coming out of his little mini slump. Even with the two hits in the series finale against Baltimore, Devers is hitting .129 with a .375 OPS over his last 8 games. We obviously notice this because he had started off his major league career so red hot, but it shouldn’t stick out this much. The reason it sticks out so much is because a handful of guys that this team should be depending on have pretty much had lost seasons at this point.

I’m not in the same camp as the Red Sox fans who put Hanley Ramirez in the same category as Pablo Sandoval in terms of contract signings. In fact, it’s not even close. Just based on Hanley’s 2016 season, he could suck the rest of his tenure in Boston and still never come close to the failure that Sandoval was in Boston. But if the focus is primarily on 2017, then yes, Hanley has been a huge disappointment, especially because of the year that he had last year, not even factoring in the money that he’s being paid, which is roughly $23 million.

Hanley’s down to .244 with a .758 OPS this season. That’s your cleanup hitter right there. Believe it or not, if the season ended today, this would be Hanley’s worst offensive season ever if you go by offensive WAR (0.1), and that’s including that dumpster fire of a season that he had in 2015. With runners in scoring position this season, it’s considerably worse. He’s hitting .191 with a .629 OPS with runners in scoring position overall. The later into the game it goes, the worse it gets.

Sure, he’s had a couple of walk-off home runs in a Red Sox uniform over the last two seasons that I’m sure everybody remembers, but if you actually watch the games, the vast majority of his at-bats in clutch situations have not been very competitive. From the sixth inning on, extra innings included, Hanley’s hitting .160 with a .603 OPS with runners in scoring position. If you don’t have any faith in Hanley when he comes to the plate late in games with runners in scoring position, you’re not a “hater”. You’re just a baseball fan who actually pays attention to what’s been happening over the course of the entire season.

And I’m getting tired of these Red Sox propaganda machines on TV and radio — cough NESN and WEEI cough — saying things like, “Well, they’ve just gotta get guys like Hanley going.” It’s fucking September, dude. Well, it is on Friday. At what point do we stop talking about how guys need to start get it going, and just acknowledge that they’re having a bad season and that that’s probably just how it’s going to be? Not only that, but because of this, John Farrell needs to structure his lineup accordingly. Perfect example being Chris fucking Young batting FIFTH on Sunday against a lefty when he’s hitting .198 with a .592 against lefties this year. Yeah, I know the larger sample size is that he mashes lefties. Well, guess what? He ain’t doing that this year. Move him down. Same thing with Hanley. That’s your cleanup hitter? How?

The Red Sox head up to Toronto to square off with a last place Blue Jays team that have lost seven of their last nine games, the worst winning percentage in the majors over that span. Perhaps that’s what can get them back on the right track, because I think the panic that was on full display after this weekend series was a little overdramatic. They’re still in first place. The overall sample of games that they’ve played this month has still been really good baseball. If the four-game losing streak is just a blip on the radar, then we’ll know that for sure when they get fed a last place Blue Jays team.

Final score: Orioles 2, Red Sox 1