Wednesday, October 5 marked the official end of the 2022 Boston Red Sox season, and thank god for that.
The Red Sox of this time last year are a distant memory in fans’ heads at this point. As a refresher, last season, the Red Sox finished with a record of 92-70 and came within two games of a World Series appearance. Going into their final game, this year’s Red Sox team has a record of 77-84 and is in last place in the AL East.
For the Sox fans who were in a coma all season or tuned out at some point, you may be asking how the team got into this position.
Bad pitching costs the Boston Red Sox a lot of games
The Red Sox pitching is one of the main reasons why the Sox are not going any further into October this year. Boston is tied with the Oakland Athletics for the sixth highest ERA in MLB with 4.54, compared to a league average of 3.94. The Sox also had the 12th lowest strikeouts in the league and the seventh highest WHIP.
It’s hard to reconcile those statistics with the massive Red Sox payroll this year of $221 million, according to FanGraphs, a payroll that includes large contracts for pitchers like Nathan Eovaldi ($17 million) and Chris Sale ($30 million). Compare that to a team like the Oakland Athletics, tied with the Sox in ERA this year, who have a payroll of $50 million.
Chris Sale’s impact on the Red Sox this year deserves its own article. He’s the highest-paid player on the Red Sox, yet he only started two games this season because of a couple of fluke injuries. The lack of a real ace in the rotation (we can argue about Eovaldi in the comments if you want) makes me think that Chaim Bloom and the Fenway brass were under the impression that Sale would be able to make a good portion of his starts this season.
Constructing a starting pitching rotation on the pipe dream that Chris Sale will be healthy for most of his starts is like buying a sports car under the assumption that you have a winning lottery ticket.