Boston Red Sox: Untimely COVID outbreak is destroying the Sox

Hunter Renfroe #10 and Yairo Munoz #60 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Hunter Renfroe #10 and Yairo Munoz #60 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Ever since the All Star break, nothing has gone right for the Boston Red Sox. After leading the pack for most of the first half of the season, they have gone just 20-23 since the All Star break, and have watched a 4.5 game lead in the AL East turn into a 10 game deficit. A team once looking like a World Series contender is now just barely hanging onto a wild card spot.

It was pretty clear that their current series against the Tampa Bay Rays could make or break their season, and right now it’s looking like it’s going to break their season.

Boston has already lost the first two games of the series, and now just hold a one game lead over the Oakland Athletics for the second wild card spot in the American League. Not to mention Tampa has now won their last nine games, so things don’t look great for the Sox.

Making matters even worse, the team is in the middle of a large scale COVID outbreak. Seven players and a coach now find themselves out of action due to either contracting COVID or being deemed a close contact, and quite frankly it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Boston appeared to be finally finding their footing after struggling for most of the second half of the season, and needed all the help they could get for this series.

More from Chowder and Champions

Instead, their top contributors are dropping like flies, and this team is beginning to look more like the WooSox rather than the Red Sox at this point. It’s just the latest bad break for a team that has experienced so many of them in the second half of the season, and this issue may just be too much for the team to overcome this time around.

Can the Boston Red Sox overcome their COVID outbreak?

To fully understand the depth of Boston’s issues, we need to rewind a few days back to their series against the Cleveland Indians. It all started when Kikè Hernández abruptly tested positive for COVID, with Christian Arroyo quickly being announced as a close contact, and then testing positive himself. Those are two of Boston’s key members of the lineup that immediately were forced to miss at least the next 10 games.

The next area that took a hit after the infield was the bullpen. Matt Barnes and Martin Perez hit the shelf the next day, with Josh Taylor eventually getting pulled in the middle of that night’s game after being deemed a close contact. Hirokazu Sawamura would join them the next day, taking a huge chunk out of Boston’s bullpen out in one big swoop.

The biggest loss though came last night when Xander Bogaerts was pulled from the middle of their game against Tampa Bay. Bogaerts started the scoring for Boston with an RBI single in the first, but then was abruptly pulled in the middle of the second inning. Boston proceeded to implode in the bottom of the third inning, and it was clear they missed Bogaerts leadership from the middle of the infield.

The outbreak only continued to spread this afternoon, with Yairo Munoz the latest player to test positive for COVID. The Sox middle infield has been ripped to shreds by this outbreak, and they are basically going to be fielding a middle infield that belongs in Worcester for the foreseeable future.

With so many key players already out, and more potentially joining them, this doesn’t seem like a great situation for the Boston Red Sox. Not to mention, they are facing the red hot Rays, while the Athletics, who sit a game behind them in the wild card race, are facing the lowly Detroit Tigers. To put it bluntly, there’s a good chance Boston isn’t going to be occupying a playoff spot by the time this series against Tampa ends.

The Red Sox had been battling against this for pretty much the entire second half of the season, but it just seems like this is too much to overcome. They don’t have the players available they need to beat a team like Tampa, or any other playoff caliber team for that matter. Let’s put it this way; the Sox used three pitchers last night (Brad Peacock, Stephen Gonsalves, and Phillips Valdez) who were all in the minors at the beginning of this week.

Next. If J.D. Martinez gets hot, watch out. dark

Unless they miraculously turn things around over the next few days, the Red Sox are going to find themselves out of a playoff spot with less than a month to find their way back. Not to mention, they will be missing a large chunk of their core when they need them the most. The Boston Red Sox have exceeded expectations all season long, but it appears that a COVID outbreak has finally destroyed them, and will likely be the final straw in ending their playoff hopes this season.