- The Boston Red Sox’ playoff odds have fallen to +600 after opening the season at -600
- The defending champs were 5.5 games out of a Wild Card spot with just 25 games to play
- Is there any value betting Boston to reach the postseason?
For the first time in four years, it appears the MLB postseason will not include the Boston Red Sox. At the start of the day on Tuesday, the defending World Series champs were 5.5 games out of the AL’s final Wild Card spot and online sportsbooks are very bearish on their October prospects.
AL Playoff Odds
|Team||Odds to Make Playoffs||Odds to Miss Playoffs|
|Tampa Bay Rays||-300||+250|
|Boston Red Sox||+600||-800|
*Odds taken 09/03/19
Their MLB playoff odds have dropped to +600, well behind the Indians and Rays who are heavy favorites to claim the AL’s two Wild Cards.
Prior to the start of the season, Boston was -600 to reach the postseason and, while many factors are to blame for their demise, pitching is definitely at the top of the list.
The Red Sox pitching staff ranks in the bottom half of the league in ERA, OBP, strand rate, extra base hits allowed and quality starts. They’re without an ace now that Chris Sale is out for the season and only one of their regular starters has an ERA below 4.25.
Oddly the Red Sox are 11 games over .500 on the road and dead even at home. That’s really a big difference this year — the inability to win consistently at Fenway. That, and bad pitching across the board .
— Ron Miller (@ron_miller) September 2, 2019
They’ve surrendered at least seven runs 13 different times in the second half of the season and their bullpen has blown a league high 27 saves. While pitching has been a major area of concern for Boston, the three teams that they’re chasing in the Wild Card race (Cleveland, Tampa Bay and Oakland) all rank in the AL’s top-5 in WAR, ERA, home runs allowed and strand rate.
It’s no wonder the Red Sox have a 8.1% chance to make the playoffs according to FanGraphs, while the Indians and Rays sit at 73.6% and 70% respectively.
Long Odds Against
Boston is an AL best 11-4 since August 13th but is still on pace to win just 87.5 games. All three teams ahead of them in the Wild Card race are on pace for at least 93 wins and don’t face the nearly the level of competition that the Red Sox do down the stretch.
Red Sox fans when they miss the playoffs but say “we are still the defending champs!”
— SLAM CENTRAL STATION (@SlamCentralNYY) August 29, 2019
Thirteen of Boston’s final 25 games are against playoff calibre teams, including seven straight against division leaders Minnesota and New York. Half of the Indians’ remaining games are against teams with a .402 winning percentage, 14 of the Rays final 24 games are versus opponents with a below .500 record, and the Athletics have just one series remaining with a playoff bound team.
State of the Red Sox via Alex Cora:
"We have an 8% chance. So, like Dumb & Dumber, there’s still a chance, I guess. At least in my eyes. So you control two things: the way you play & the Rays, because we play 4 games. You don’t control the Indians and you don’t control the A’s."
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) September 3, 2019
To put things into perspective, Boston will likely need to win at least 16 or 17 of their remaining games and hope two of the three teams ahead of them go 3-4 games below .500. Given the disparity in strength of schedules, coupled with the Red Sox underachieving pitching staff, it seems likely that Boston is watching the 2019 postseason from home.
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