With a stuttering start to the 2020 Major League Baseball season due to COVID-19, We take a look back at the 2019 campaign for the Boston Red Sox. They started the season as the defending World Series champions and the line-up closely matched that of the previous, successful season. However, as this Red Sox season review will explain, it did not go according to plan.

Prior to the 2019 MLB season, you had to go back to 2015 to find the last time the Red Sox were not involved in the MLB post-season. It is fair to say that following the franchise-high 108 wins last season, the expectations were extremely high and there was always the risk the team could fall below them. When the Red Sox are good, they are fantastic but when they are not at their best, they are middling and that was the problem.

However, despite falling out of post-season contention following the defeat against Tampa Bay Rays in September, the Red Sox finished the season with a winning record. Having claimed a walk off victory against the Baltimore Orioles, the Red Sox finished with 84 wins and 78 losses.

As highlighted above, the 2019 season started with much the same team as the victorious 2018 campaign. The most notable exceptions were closer Craig Kimbrel, 2nd baseman Ian Kinsler, starter Drew Pomeranz and reliever Joe Kelly. Perhaps the main issue was the lack of spring training for the starting rotation as appearances were limited for players following the success of the previous season. You only have to look at the figures of pitcher Chris Sale for example, who recorded a career worst 4.40 ERA in 25 starts. His season came to an end in mid-August.

David Price made a good start to the season but finished with his worst ERA since posting 4.42 in 2009. Price joined Sale in suffering an injury before the end of the season, but Rick Porcello remained healthy throughout 2019. However, Porcello was inconsistent and finished with a 5.52 ERA. Both Price and Porcello have since left the team.

Despite the obvious disappointments, there were some bright moments. The fact the Red Sox hit more home runs and scored more runs than they did in the 2018 season is an obvious example. Third baseman Rafael Devers recorded a team best .311 batting average and JD Martinez lead the way by hitting 36 home runs. In addition, the season saw the emergence of several players including pitcher Brandon Workman and infielder Michael Chavis.

The Red Sox struggled for consistency during the 2019 campaign, with the manager Alex Cora saying they were, “very consistent in being inconsistent”. It will be interesting to see how they bounce back from the disappointing defence of their World Series in 2019. For those who fancy a wager on the Red Sox to succeed in 2020, you can enjoy a free bet at BetRivers Colorado. This online bookmaker is currently available in Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, and Pennsylvania and as a desktop website and a mobile app.