Boston Red Sox: Next 10 games could seal season’s fate

Jul 17, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora (13) makes a pitching change taking out Boston Red Sox pitcher Ryan Brasier (70) during the fourth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 17, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora (13) makes a pitching change taking out Boston Red Sox pitcher Ryan Brasier (70) during the fourth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports /

A post All-Star break sprint for the Boston Red Sox has the ability to ultimately make-or-break the 2022 season for the club.

Plenty of questions surrounding the team as it moves forward could be answered in the next ten games. Closing out July strong could also mean the Red Sox are buyers as the trade deadline nears.

Struggles, however, would mean the Red Sox become sellers, and begin the rebuild with an eye towards the 2023 season.

Boston Red Sox: A 50/50 season

Only a short while ago, the Red Sox — despite their inadequacies — seemed primed to make a playoff run.  They had completed a spectacular month of June. Despite struggles early in July, they were about to get healthy all while hanging around, or holding, the top Wild Card spot.

Now, after a stretch that saw Boston go 3-10 into the break, the Red Sox sit in fourth-place in the American League East. The Wild Card is still in reach but now Boston is on the outside looking in, trailing the last Wild Card spot by two games.

Heady discussions on how to proceed are taking place, and will only grow depending on what happens in the next ten games. Starting pitching, seemingly ready to stabilize, suffered a setback with the injury to Chris Sale and the recent struggles of Nick Pivetta. This happened at a time, too, in which the main focus should have been strengthening the bullpen

Pitching is worrisome altogether, unless the starters can regain focus and the bullpen can find it’s groove.

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While decent things are happening at the plate, the lack of power from the Red Sox hitters is doing the team no favors. A quick fix isn’t likely possible in regards to the trade deadline, unless the team is willing to depart with key young players.

One thing being discussed is the moving of Xander Bogaerts. The contracts of Bogaerts and Rafael Devers have hung heavy over the team all season. Ideally, both would be with Boston the duration of their careers but that’s looking less likely with each day that passes.

If the Red Sox struggle out of the second-half gate, it might be best to move Bogaerts before the deadline and get some talent in return. It pains me to say that but with a possible replacement in a year or two with Marcelo Mayer, Devers should be the primary player for the Red Sox to target in extending to a long-term contract.

Time is growing excruciatingly short on how to proceed with this season. The trade deadline is August 2, so the next ten games will leave a slim window in determining how to proceed.

Boston Red Sox: Win, and it’s time to buy

A homestand of ten games will provide the Red Sox ample opportunity to right this circling ship.  If Boston can win seven or more games during this stretch, the Red Sox should proceed with reckless abandon towards a playoff push.

Six wins, or worse, and it might be time to pull the rip chord on the season. Painful to look at giving up on a season, knowing teams can get hot in August and September. And perhaps that could still happen, especially if the team continues to hang around the periphery of the Wild Card spots.

That’s why, even if the team hits a .500 snag or worse during the next ten games, it’s best to not go with a complete overhaul. Move some players, even those we’ve come to love over the past few seasons, as needed. Embracing a reality where some veteran players should be moved could be best when it means giving some younger players a chance at everyday action.

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The upcoming stretch won’t be easy, with three teams with winning records coming to town. This begins with a team that Boston has struggled mightily with this season.

The Toronto Blue Jays (50-43) come into town owning a 7-3 record against the Red Sox in 2022. Toronto, currently in the third Wild Card spot, had some hiccups of their own but entered the break winning three straight.

Boston did record a three-game sweep of the Cleveland Guardians this season, and they are the next team to visit Fenway Park after Toronto. Cleveland is hanging out in the Wild Card race, too, just behind the Red Sox.

The homestand finishes up with the Milwaukee Brewers, who currently hold a 50-43 record and first-place in the N.L. Central.

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As it stands, I see the Red Sox being a mixture of both buyers and sellers as the trade deadline approaches. The Red Sox shouldn’t be all in on buyers. Nor do I believe it should be a complete fire sale, either. Due diligence should be done as their last games of July play out, but both options should be on the table.

Ten games to decide the fate of the season. No pressure at all.