The defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox are off to an abysmal start, but it’s not time for the fans to hit the panic button.
It’s hard to imagine a World Series title defense getting off to a worse start than the Boston Red Sox have suffered through during the first month of 2019. The Red Sox are 6-12 and have a historically-bad pitching staff. Absolutely nothing has gone well for Boston, who have allowed 40 more runs than they’ve scored. The Red Sox spent exactly one day below .500 last season, and were 17-3 in their first 20 games.
Obviously, none of the talent that made this team the World Series champion last year is gone. The Red Sox are still very good from top to bottom despite a slightly-depleted bullpen. Their starting rotation won’t continue allowing close to a run an inning, and the lineup won’t hit .229/.301/.372 much longer. Deep breaths, Red Sox fans.
Red Sox fans are obviously up in arms over their team’s ugly start, but the season is still so young. The division is still well within reach (after all, the New York Yankees are also only 7-9 and dealing with a M*A*S*H unit of a roster). It is not time to panic yet in Beantown.
5. The World Series hangover is real
Making it all the way to and winning the World Series is a dream come true for baseball fans and their respective teams, but playing that deep into the season is not without consequence. Pitchers throw more innings, extra aches and pains flare up and preparation for the next year gets pushed back. There is also a psychological comedown off the high of winning it all and the additional distractions that come with being the champ. It all adds up to a very real World Series hangover effect, and the Boston Red Sox are the latest team to deal with it.
After the Chicago Cubs won the 2016 title, they started 2017 with a 43-45 record in the first half and had to fight to get back to the postseason. Their opponent, the Cleveland Indians, won 102 games but were only 27-24 at the end of May despite playing in one of the weakest divisions in the league. The 2017 champion Houston Astros roared out of the gates, but their opponents, the Los Angeles Dodgers bottomed out at 16-26 in the middle of May before turning it on.
The Red Sox faced very little adversity en route to winning the 2019 title. That won’t be the case this season, but if recent history is any indication, they’ll be just fine by the end of May.