By Matthew Cunha
The 2016 Boston Red Sox won as many playoff games as the 59-103 Minnesota Twins did. They won the AL East, but in a city used to championships, simply making the playoffs is not good enough. The team that scored 176 more runs than their opponents during the season could not pull out one win during the playoffs. To make matters even worse for the Red Sox, they may be the home to winners of the two big individual awards.
Pitcher Rick Porcello is likely to win the Cy Young Award. According to ESPN’s projections and their formula, Porcello has 197.6 Cy Young points. That is about twenty points ahead of finalist Corey Kluber, and close to 49 points ahead of the other finalist Justin Verlander. In the race for MVP, Mookie Betts is a finalist along with Mike Trout and Jose Altuve. Neither Trout’s Angels, or Altuve’s Astros made the playoffs.
It just goes to show how disappointing the end of the Red Sox season was. How does a team with potential MVP and Cy Young winners take not ONE playoff game. The Red Sox had another MVP candidate all year in David Ortiz and many were surprised that Ortiz didn’t make the finalist cut with a record breaking final season batting .315 with 38 homeruns.
It is clear that the 2016 edition of the Boston Red Sox had plenty of talent. It is a downright shame that a team with a Cy Young candidate and 2 MVP candidates got swept out of the playoffs in the first round. What is the reasoning for this collapse?
When there is this much talent on a team you have to look at the manager. According to teamranking.com the Sox ended the season with a .481 win percentage in close games and were 20th in the league. For a MLB division winner, that number is atrocious. You need to win more than half of your close games. Against Cleveland, the Red Sox lost 5-4, 6-0, and 4-3. Their inability to pull out close games cost them.
Manager John Farrell is not going anywhere. Red Sox vice president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski started his end of season conference stating definitively that Farrell would be back next year. The move showed me how much confidence the organization has in him. I don’t know how the poor showings in close games this year did not set off alarms to the Red Sox front office. The highest paid assistant coach in baseball was underneath Farrell this year in bench coach Torey Lovullo. He is now the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Lovullo should be the manger in Boston. Until the manager changes, what reason do you have to believe that the Sox can win close games?
The 2016 Red Sox: A story of a lot talent, a lot runs, a lot of individual hardware and not even one lousy playoff win.
What a shame!