Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com (Aug. 24, 2018 – Source: Brian Blanco/Getty Images North America)
The Boston Red Sox are slumping at the wrong time. After getting swept by the Tampa Bay Rays, the Red Sox now find themselves with a 2-6 record over their last eight games. Their division lead, which was once as high as 10.5 games, is down to just six. While this slump is upsetting, the Boston Red Sox will be fine. Cold streaks are a natural part of any season, and this slump shouldn’t affect the long-term success of the squad. Other great teams have gone through similar struggles and emerged victoriously.
Don’t Worry, the Boston Red Sox Will Be Fine
This Happens to Everyone
Prior to this slump, the Red Sox have been remarkably consistent at staying in the win column. Their three consecutive losses to the Rays was the first time the Sox have been swept all season. Literally, every other team in baseball has already been swept, most multiple times.
Not only is this the first time the Red Sox were swept, it’s also the first time the Red Sox have lost a series since late June. The Red Sox lost two of three against the New York Yankees from June 29th to July 1st, and have won or tied every series since. That’s an absurd amount of good play, and honestly, that type of performance isn’t sustainable. It’s a 162-game season, it’s practically impossible to play good baseball that long without any cold stretches.
History Says They Can Recover
Now that we’ve established that all teams go through cold stretches, should we worry about the cold stretch happening now? There’s just over a month of baseball left, and the Red Sox are heading into the most important part of the season. Surely a slump at this point in the season signifies trouble, right?
Well, not exactly. Just because a team is slumping at this time of the year does not mean they don’t have a chance at the postseason. To prove this, let’s take a look at last year’s World Series teams: the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros.
The 2017 Dodgers
The 2017 Dodgers, much like the 2018 Red Sox, entered August with a shot at obtaining the all-time wins record. As of August 25, 2017, it looked like the Dodgers might actually reach the fabled 117-win plateau. After a 3-1 win against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Dodgers found themselves with an absurd 91-36 record, good for a 71.7% winning percentage and a 17-game lead in the NL West.
Then the wheels fell off the wagon. The Dodgers went into a tailspin, losing their next five games and 16 of 17. They righted the ship for a little while but suffered another four-game losing streak before the playoffs began to finish with a 103-58 regular season record. While a 100-win season is obviously good, it was a far cry from the record-breaking pace they were on.
Nonetheless, once the playoffs came, the Dodgers looked like their old selves. Talent took over, and the Dodgers made it all the way to the World Series with minimal effort. They swept the Arizona Diamondbacks and beat the Chicago Cubs in five games. They made it all the way to the World Series but ultimately lost to…
The 2017 Astros
The Houston Astros suffered a similar fate. While they never had a record as good as the Dodgers, they still found themselves at 68-34 as of July 28th. However, they also suffered a major skid around this time of the year. Over their next 14 games, the Astros went an abysmal 3-11, including a stretch where they lost five straight games.
Just like the Dodgers, the Astros eventually righted the ship. They beat the Red Sox in four games, the Yankees in seven, and won the World Series in seven. In both cases, the Dodgers and the Astros both went through drastic slumps right around this point in the season. However, in both cases, the insane talent on both rosters won out, and both teams ended up overcoming their slumps to make it to the World Series.
Much like those two clubs, the 2018 Boston Red Sox are insanely talented. They have two of the top four MVP candidates in Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. They have a Cy Young candidate in Chris Sale. They have All-Star caliber players in Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi, and David Price, just to name a few.
Are the 2018 Red Sox guaranteed a trip to the World Series? Not at all, but that would be the case regardless of how the last few games went. However, this slump does not equate to the end times in Boston. It’s not even a reason to worry. The Red Sox are a supremely talented team, and history says talent overcomes cold streaks when the playoffs come around.