On the first of June, CBSBostonSports.com’s Michael Hurley wrote a story saying that though four months remain, the Red Sox season is over.
He joined Toucher & Rich in studio, and after a brief interjection from an angry Scott Zolak, discussed the story.
“I’ve seen enough from this team to know that the season’s over. I’ve seen last-place teams two out of the last three years, we’ve seen two of the worst teams since the ’60s, and this team has the potential to be just as bad as them,” Hurley said. “It’s almost hard to believe, given how much offensive talent they should have, but I’ve seen enough where I’m ready to just call it a season.”
But what about the fact that they’re only 4.5 games back in the AL East?
“For one, being close in a terrible division isn’t much to hang your hat on,” he said. “The run differential is just ridiculous. They’re minus-48 through 51 games. That’s worst in the American League, third-worst in all of baseball. … That’s the difference between winning and losing. You’re getting outscored almost every night. They’re not competing, more often than not.”
Fred argued that it’ll only take a week-long streak for the Red Sox to get back into the mix in the AL East.
“Their longest win streak this year is three. So just to have a good week seems hard,” Hurley said. “They need to win six in a row, eight out of 10, 16 out of 20 at some point this year. And I just haven’t seen enough to think they can have any sort of sustained success.”
For perspective, Hurley compared this year’s team to the infamous Bobby Valentine-led squad from 2012.
“In 2012, which was the worst year any of us can remember, they were fifth in runs scored and 12th in ERA. And right now, they’re 12th in runs scored and 14th in ERA. So even if they get a little bit better, it’s hard to think they’re going to be any better than a .500 team.”
Hurley said the root of the team’s issues is obvious.
“This team is bad. This team is grossly underperforming. It’s a $187 million payroll with no starting staff. I don’t know how that happened,” Hurley said. “Ben Cherington is smart. Larry Lucchino is smart. Say what you will about them, say whatever you want to criticize them, but they’re smart people. I don’t understand how you go into the season with that starting staff and think that it will just magically somehow work.”
So, is there any hope?
“I’ll just say this,” Hurley said. “If you need them to go on a run, the two most important positions are manned by 22-year-olds, at shortstop and in center field. You have a rookie catcher working with a staff that isn’t very good. You have no right fielder. The first baseman is very much on the downside of his peak, and age finally might have caught up to your DH. So that’s six positions, and you have maybe one or two [decent] starting pitchers if you piece them all together.”
They also discussed John Farrell’s role in the Red Sox’ struggles, the rarity of having multiple switch hitters on the roster completely abandon one side of the plate, some of the best (and worst) reactions to the story (including an appearance from Sports Talk Matt!), Will Middlebrooks’ 2015 campaign vs. Pablo Sandoval’s 2015 campaign, and more. Listen below!