Red Sox limp into series vs. Yankees

July 24, 2019 11:54 PM

What happened to the Boston Red Sox?

Disappointingly mired in the 2019 wild-card race, the defending World Series champion is hosting the New York Yankees in a four-game series at Fenway Park beginning Thursday night. 

The Red Sox just passed the 100-game mark earlier this week in Tampa Bay. That meaningful sample size makes this the perfect time for bettors to take a deep analytical dive.

The first thing to note is that baseball — and “the baseball” — has changed in 2019. Scoring is up because of an aerodynamically friendlier sphere. In 2018, American League offenses averaged 4.5 runs per game, while pitchers allowed 4.6 runs per game (losing interleague play). This season, those numbers are up to 4.9 both ways (data from 

Let’s start with the offense. A few Red Sox hitters are receiving criticism for dropping from last year’s performance levels. Using the standard “slash” line of batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage, Mookie Betts has fallen noticeably from a stunning .346/.438/.640 to a still productive .282/.396/.479. J.D. Martinez is down from .330/.402/.629 to an effective but not spectacular .287/.360/.515. Andrew Benintendi is down a bit. 

But the offense as a whole has largely stood pat relative to the league. Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez are way up. It all comes out in the wash. Betts and Martinez were likely to regress from career performances. Others picked up the slack. 

In 2018, Boston scored 5.4 runs per game in a league that averaged 4.5 (plus 0.9). In 2019, Boston has scored 5.7 runs per game in a league that’s averaging 4.9 (plus 0.8). Teams don’t fall from superpower to borderline wild-card contender because offense drops a fraction relative to the league. And, the Red Sox have a great offense!

The big problem has been pitching. Last year’s team allowed a paltry 4.0 runs per game (a half a run better than the competition). This year’s team is allowing 5.1 (0.2 runs worse). Boston is burning money for bettors because pitchers aren’t performing to very high market expectations. 

Both the starting rotation and bullpen are to blame. 

Starters have a combined ERA of 4.73 in 2019, up almost a full run from 3.77 in Boston’s championship season. Relievers are at 4.60, well above last season’s 3.72. You can see the groups moved in lockstep. Both went from championship performance to generic. 

The 2019 version will still bully losing teams, 36-19 this season for a .655 winning percentage. But, more vulnerable pitching exposes the Sox against quality. Boston was 18-27 vs. teams at .500 or better entering its current 14-game gauntlet vs. Tampa Bay and New York (down from 41-33 last season). 

As you handicap this weekend’s huge series and the rest of 2019, pay close attention to whether or not Boston is addressing its main issues. Will recently-acquired Andrew Cashner help the rotation? Is Nathan Eovaldi and his high career WHIP a good gamble at closer?

back to news

Get the FREE VSiN Newsletter

Key line movements -- and what they should mean to you -- delivered to your inbox every morning.


VSiN promo codes

Manscaped: Go to and get 20% off with the code VSIN.

KeepsGo to for your free doctor consultation and get your first month of hair treatments for free.

EightSleepFor $150 off, go to

VooDoo Cream: Use the code "Pauly" to get a special discount for VSiN fans.

Kenny White's College Football Power Ratings: Get $5 off with discount code vsin20off.


Online Sports Betting Marketplace

Featured Tickets for Sale on

1) Daniel Jones to Win Rookie of the Year - Sale Price: $9,000, Collect: $25,500, Odds: +183

2) Tom Brady to Win MVP - Sale Price: $104, Collect: $938, Odds: 8/1

3) St. Louis Cardinals to Win World Series - Sale Price: $77, Collect: $1,008, Odds: 12/1

Go to or call

All tickets are open to Bidding. Prices & availability are subject to change.