Comparing the Bad Starts of the 2011 and 2019 Red Sox

The 2019 Red Sox are a team with high expectations who have started out flat, which is a familiar scenario for Boston fans. In 2011, the Red Sox started the season 2-10 after trading for Adrian Gonzalez and signing Carl Crawford. Now, they are the defending World Champions, and have started 3-8. There are some similarities between how the two teams started, and obviously some differences.

2011 Red Sox 2019 Red Sox
W-L 2-10 3-8
Runs Per Game 3.8 4.2
Runs Against Per Game 6.6 6.5
Team OPS .669 .685
Team ERA 6.79 6.28

Much like the 2011 team, this year’s squad has struggled with pitching, which is where the brunt of the problems are. The slight difference is that the starting rotation is the main issue this year, while the runs allowed in 2011 were more spread out between starters and relievers.

A theme that is the same is some middle-of-the-rotation pitchers underperforming out of the gates. In 2011, John Lackey had allowed 15 earned runs through his first 8.2 innings, and Daisuke Matsuzaka had allowed 10 earned runs through his first 7.0 innings. This year, Rick Porcello has allowed 11 earned runs through 7.1 innings, and Eduardo Rodriguez has allowed 11 earned runs through 8.0 innings.

Trends like these obviously lead to more losses, as it’s incredibly hard to win with bad starting pitching. The 2011 team at least started with a couple bright spots, as Josh Beckett had a 2.08 ERA during the 2-10 stretch, and Jon Lester had a respectable 3.72 ERA during that span. With the 2019 team, the best legit starter has been David Price, who currently has a 6.00 ERA.

The most comparable thing with each team is the ways in which they lost, and the bad luck. When they hit, they didn’t pitch, and when they pitched, they didn’t hit. The 2011 team’s start had scores ranging from 16-5 to 1-0 to 7-6. This year’s team has lost 15-8, 1-0, and 10-8, proving their lack of luck in terms of putting it all together.

I compare these teams because both are very good. The 2011 team went 81-42 through August after their bad start. They were in first place in the AL East by May 27th. In 2019, the Red Sox should do something similar, and carry that success through September, unlike the 2011 team. They are probably more talented, and once everything balances out, should end up doing plenty better than the 2011 team that they are being compared to. If anything, this should tell us that we have a lot of good baseball to look forward to.


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