Yes, the Sox aren't dominating like they sometimes do. In fact, they're only 6-4 in their last ten games. With a slump like that, the rest of the league is going to pass them by. Wait, what's that? 6-4 is actually the second best record in the American League over the last ten games? Only the Rays at 8-2 are hotter than the Sox are right now? The Yankees are only 5-5 over their last ten? Huh. Sounds to me like there's not much to worry about.
Now, the bullpen? That's something else entirely. Pete Abraham had a great tweet last night comparing the bullpens of potential playoff teams.
Bullpen ERA since the All-Star break for the expected AL playoff teams— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) September 19, 2018
New York 4.21
Since Aug. 1
New York 4.04
So, you can see that the Red Sox bullpen is clearly a fatal flaw that is going to kill them against good teams like the Yankees. Oh, wait. The Yankees have a worse bullpen ERA in both those situations? Huh.
But, all the other teams are better! See? The Sox are terrible! And, yes, the other bullpen ERAs are better. By about half a run. What does that mean? Well, just as a generalization...let's assume Boston and Cleveland each have played about 40 games since August 1st. And, just for numbers, we'll assume the bullpen averages three innings per game. That would mean that in August and September the Indians bullpen has given up 48 runs, and the Red Sox 54. Six more runs over a month and a half. Or an extra run every six games. That's what we're worried about here? We're ready to throw away the season over a run every six games? So, in a potential playoff series, the Red Sox bullpen will give up one more run than the Indians bullpen. What in the blazes are we talking about?
So I'll say it again. Yes the Red Sox bullpen struggles sometimes. Yes, the Red Sox lineup struggles sometimes. But, so does the bullpen and lineup for every team in the league.
Even those teams we're supposed to worry about.