Time is running out for the Red Sox

Andy Hart
July 11, 2019 - 5:45 am
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The calendar says that there are two and a half months left in the 2019 MLB season. The schedule shows 72 games to be played. Plenty of time for a team to find its way, right?

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Make no mistake, the Red Sox are now very much on the clock and have less than three weeks to define who they are in the summer of 2019. Exiting the All-Star break and heading into the second half of the season, Boston is indeed running out of time on a number of fronts.

In spite of or maybe even in part because of last season’s dominant run through the American League East and impressive march to a World Series crown, a year later the Sox are in the midst of a pretty mediocre, rudderless season.

With 90 games in the books, Boston currently sits at a so-so 49-41 mark. Alex Cora’s club is nine games back of the Yankees in the A.L. East and two games out of the second wild card spot.

Reigning MVP Mookie Betts is batting a meh .272, 74 points below his MLB-best average from a year ago.

Chris Sale is a very un-ace-like 3-8 with an ERA over 4, hitting the break openly questioning his own skills, sounding more confused than confident.

The bullpen has been the talk of the town, for all the wrong reasons all season long. Entering the year without a proven option at the closer spot, Boston unbelievably has the exact same number of saves as it does ugly blown saves – 18.

Sure, it’s great that Boston hit the break winning four-straight games, including a sweep of the Tigers. Maybe, truly just maybe, that’s a positive sign of things to come.

But it’s what the team does in the next couple weeks will define how the rest of the summer will play out at Fenway.

Between Friday’s second-half opener World Series rematch against the Dodgers and the July 31st lone trade deadline Boston must do enough to ensure that Dave Dombrowski pursues opportunities to add to the pitching staff to win now – either a serviceable starter or a closer option – rather than consider, gasp, the defending champs waiving the white flag by dealing away talent to prepare for future seasons.

There is also another less tangible deadline on the horizon and that’s the opening of Patriots training camp down I-95 in Foxborough on July 25.

Because the reality is that not only are the 2019 Red Sox not living up to their hype, they’re not generating interest within their fan base. Ratings are down and relevancy is wavering.

Through 90 games Boston isn’t that good and certainly isn’t all that fun to watch, listen to or talk about.

In less than two weeks the NFL – the king of all sports in the U.S. – and the Patriots, without question now the top team in Boston sports, return to the sports landscape.

With Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the rest of the New England squad getting ready to embark on another quest for the Super Bowl, the competition for eye balls and energy in the Boston sports scene is about to get even more difficult.

Heck, the way things are going, the Red Sox might be passed up by the wave of excitement surrounding Tacko Fall and the Celtics summer league action.

OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration. But it’s no hyperbole to say that while Red Sox have plenty of time left in the too-long MLB season to do more damage, the next couple weeks may declare just what kind of mark this team is going to leave.

The trade deadline is coming.

Patriots season is coming.

The Red Sox are essentially running out of time to create their 2019 identity and prove they are a World Series contender, not MLB also-rans and Boston sports afterthoughts.

Tick, tick, tick.

Related: 4 starting pitchers Red Sox could target ahead of MLB trade deadline