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Should Boston Prepare To Move Past Christian Vázquez?

As the Red Sox move on to the American League Championship Series, the team may not have the talent to contend with teams like the Astros. Some could say the same thing about the Rays, but the Red Sox were fortunate Tampa Bay’s staff was shot after injuries plagued them throughout the season. The Red Sox have All-Stars talents like Rafael Devers, Xander Bogarts, and J.D. Martinez, but they need better role players who provide depth in October if they are truly going to contend each year. Successful teams don’t often undergo a complete rebuild, instead choosing to go through mini-rebuilds and focus on positions of need. This avoids 70-win seasons, ​​something Boston sports fans have not been accustomed to in the last two decades. It is no mystery that they need pitching help, but a more overlooked position of need is at catcher, which could help improve the staff as well.

Boston’s primary catcher and recent hero, Christian Vázquez, has had many memorable moments, none more important than his walk-off home run on Sunday. Despite this, it may be time for the Red Sox to part ways with their veteran. At age 31, Vázquez has shown signs of aging this season, and the Red Sox know this too. In the Wild Card game against the Yankees, the biggest game of the year, the Red Sox turned to backup Kevin Plawecki to get the job done behind the dish. Similarly on Sunday, Plawecki got the start while Vazquez came in to pinch-hit. The Red Sox need to start planning for their long-term future, which means seriously considering their better and younger options at catcher. Read the rest of this entry »

Solving Adam Ottavino

There are many contributing factors to the lackluster performance of Boston Red Sox reliever Adam Ottavino, who made headlines in 2018 after saying he “would strike Babe Ruth out every time.” Currently, Ottavino has a 3.68 ERA, a FIP of 3.27, and 58.2 innings pitched at time of writing, placing him 119th out of 283 qualifying pitchers. Some big reasons for his mediocre stat line includes his inability to get left-handed batters out, command struggle, and pitch selection.

Red Sox Manager Alex Cora has done well to put Ottavino in situations to succeed, and without Cora at the helm, Ottavino’s stat line would look much worse. The bottom line is that the right-hander has been an abomination against lefties in 2021. In 19.2 innings pitched, he has allowed 10 earned runs, 22 hits, and 10 walks. Ottavino’s comments to the Boston Herald earlier in the season did not age well:

“I have no idea what they’re looking for these days in terms of roles and stuff like that, but I do think it would benefit me to get a full season in facing as many lefties as possible so I can put that kind of narrative to bed.”

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