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Red Sox season recap

(Photo courtesy of NBC Sports Boston) “Red Sox players meet during game with Alex Cora.”

Jake Messer
Connector Staff

Just like that, the Red Sox 2023 season mercifully comes to an end, finishing with a record of 78-84 and ending up in last place in the AL East. This has left fans disappointed once again. In a year where they were supposed to be on the fringes of playoff contention, they fell completely short. With that in mind, here’s a look-back on the highs and lows of the Red Sox’s turbulent season. 

The Red Sox offense was great as usual. Over the past decade, the Red Sox have had one of the most potent offensives in all of baseball and this year was more of the same.  

As a unit, they finished with the 11th most runs in the league, fourth in hits, sixth in batting average and first with the most doubles in all of baseball this year. Leading the charge were players like Justin Turner, Alex Verdugo and Masataka Yoshida. 

However, one player stood above the rest: Rafael Devers. Fresh off signing a massive 11-year, $331 million dollar contract extension with the Red Sox, many fans were worried he wouldn’t live up to the lofty expectations bestowed upon him. One season in, Devers is proving that he was worth the investment. 

This season, Devers led the team in games played, runs, hits, RBIs and home runs. Moving forward, Devers will be the centerpiece that the team will build around, as he has proven himself as the new face of the franchise. 

Sadly, this is where the positive accolades end and the negative statistics begin. 

The Red Sox had two major flaws this season that ultimately proved to be their undoing: poor pitching and the underperformance of key players. 

Heading into the season, the team knew they had to add quality arms to strengthen the pitching staff. How did the front office go about doing this? By adding veteran players that were past their prime. This isn’t to say these players are bad, they’re serviceable as depth and did a solid job throwing strikes and getting outs here and there. The issue that arose was when these players were being counted on to throw quality games every four to five days and were relied on as key contributors. 

These players didn’t fill that niche, and it showed as the pitching was very hit or miss. Some weeks, the pitching would be in form. In other weeks, they would be completely off the mark.  

What didn’t help the pitching at all was the very poor fielding from the Red Sox this season. It was horribly inconsistent, to say the least. This season, the Red Sox were tied for the second most errors and had the third lowest fielding percentage in all of baseball.  

Those errors lead to longer innings, which in turn lead to tired pitchers and even more runs given up. To say it lightly, the fielding mistakes cost the Red Sox numerous wins this season. 

With that being said, the cause of such an abysmal season should not be blamed completely on these veteran players. They signed short-term contracts and aren’t going to hurt the team in the future. In the end, they weren’t properly utilized by manager, Alex Cora, and former Chief Baseball Officer, Chaim Bloom. 

However, the same cannot be said for the key players who consistently underperformed this season. Players like Chris Sale and Trevor Story really stood out in this regard. Both players signed long-term, exorbitant contracts, and yet neither of them had lived up to their potential. 

For Sale, he has been plagued by injuries, resulting in a downturn in his play in recent years. In June, Sale was placed on the 60-day IL for a stress reaction in his left scapula. This absence left a hole in the starting rotation, and the Red Sox suffered as a result.  

To Sale’s credit, this season he pitched fairly well in the games he played. In the 20 games played, he won six of them, boasted an average 4.30 ERA and recorded 125 strikeouts in the process. 

As for Story, he missed the first 112 games this season due to an elbow injury. Upon his return, he struggled behind the plate. In 43 games, Story hit .203 and only accumulated 14 RBIs. Fans can only hope for a return to form for Story next season, as he is taking up a big portion of the team’s payroll. 

If the Red Sox 2023 season could be described in one word, it would be “underperforming.” The Red Sox lacked the pitching and execution needed to win games. Key pieces were either on the shelf or didn’t live up to their expectations. 

This offseason will be crucial for the Red Sox. They need to find a new chief baseball officer to command the ship and get the team headed in the right direction. If they can’t find their winning ways and regain their reputation as a premier team in the MLB, it may be time to sell off key players and rebuild the team from the ground up.  


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