- The Boston Red Sox have bounced back from an historically slow start
- The Red Sox have won five straight and are now just three games behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East
- Can Boston become the first team since the 2000 Yankees to win consecutive World Series titles?
Boston’s World Series hangover appears to be wearing off. The Red Sox have won five straight games and nine of their last 11 to pull within three of the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays.
It’s been quite a turnaround for the defending champs, who began the season 2-8 and had the worst run differential in the Majors after the first three weeks of 2019. They weren’t just bad, they were historically bad.
Oddsmakers have taken note of Boston’s dramatic improvement and have adjusted the club’s World Series odds from +1300 on May 7th to +1100 on May 14th.
2019 World Series Odds
|Team||Odds to Win the 2019 World Series at Bovada|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+475|
|New York Yankees||+650|
|Boston Red Sox||+1000|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+1200|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+1900|
*Odds taken on 05/14/19
Sale is Rounding into Form
It isn’t fair to blame just one player for Boston’s early struggles, but that didn’t stop many fans from unleashing their anger on Chris Sale. The towering righty stumbled out of the gates in 2019 and was 0-4 with a career-high 4.67 ERA at the end of April. Not exactly the kind of return the Red Sox were banking on when they signed him to a lucrative five-year, $145 million contract extension in late March.
Chris Sale stumbled out of the gates in 2019 and was 0-4 with a career-high 4.67 ERA at the end of April.
To his credit, Sale took full responsibility for his disastrously slow start and continued to keep his head down while refining his mechanics. The result is a 1-0 record and a 0.64 ERA in two May starts.
Chris Sale is back to throwing sliders that change zip codes pic.twitter.com/prkL8D3oFd
— Starting 9 (@Starting9) May 9, 2019
The seven-time All-Star looked especially sharp on May 8th against the Orioles, giving up just one hit over eight innings and striking out 14. It was the kind of vintage performance Red Sox fans have come to expect from Sale, and it’s a promising sign of things to come.
🚨 Chris Sale immaculate inning 🚨pic.twitter.com/eqZhGfIXrE
— Starting 9 (@Starting9) May 9, 2019
Porcello is Back on Track
Sale wasn’t the only Red Sox hurler who got rocked in April. Rick Porcello also lost his first three outings, surrendering 19 runs in just 11.1 innings. The former Cy Young winner was in danger of losing his spot in the rotation before he finally began to settle down.
— NESN (@NESN) May 5, 2019
The Red Sox have now won in each of his last five outings and Porcello is once again becoming the kind of dependable innings-eater that the team (and its bullpen) sorely needs.
Michael Chavis Has Been a Revelation
One of the keys to winning back-to-back championships is finding new players who are hungry for success. Boston found the perfect candidate to fill that role in Michael Chavis. The rookie infielder is hitting .282 with six home runs and 19 RBIs during his first season in the Bigs, and his energy and enthusiasm have been infectious.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) May 5, 2019
Red Sox manager Alex Cora has been thrilled with Chavis’ contributions. “The kid, he’s a good hitter,” he recently told reporters. “You see the quality at-bats, the walks, the deep counts. He’s been playing well. He played good defense … we’re very pleased with the way he’s going about his business.”
Mookie Betts and JD Martinez Are Looking Like All-Stars Again
Boston ranks in the top 10 in batting average, on-base percentage and OPS once again thanks to the re-emergence of Mookie Betts and JD Martinez, who have both found their groove after All-Star campaigns in 2018. Martinez is hitting .313 with seven homers and 24 RBI, and Betts is batting .289 with seven dingers and 22 runs batted in.
Mookie Betts loves Camden Yards. pic.twitter.com/PBYajENka6
— Brendan (@brendan_camp) May 8, 2019
Neither player is playing at an MVP-level just yet, but their improved production is a positive sign after Boston struggled to put runs on the board during the opening month of the season.
Are the Red Sox Worth a Wager?
Boston is in the midst of an inspiring turnaround, but they can’t stop digging yet. The Red Sox are just three games above .500 and are behind the Rays and Yankees in the AL East. If the playoffs began today they would be on the outside looking in.
— Stadium (@Stadium) May 14, 2019
Boston bears watching as the weather warms up, but the Astros are the team you should be banking on right now. Houston ranks first in hits, total bases, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS. Just as the Red Sox were historically bad, the Astros have been historically good.
Houston’s pitching staff is also holding opponents to a minuscule .206 BA and is helmed by a pair of bona fide aces in Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, both of whom appear to be in mid-season form.
The Red Sox will likely keep improving as the season progresses, but the Astros are already excellent right now, and are showing no signs of slowing down.
Pick: Houston Astros (+365)