The Boston Red Sox might have entered the 2020 Major League Baseball season Thursday with dim prospects for success under normal circumstances. However, these are no ordinary times.

ESPN ranked the Red Sox 19th out of 30 teams Thursday in its “Today-would-have-been-Opening Day MLB Power Rankings.”

The offseason blockbuster trade of Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers coupled with the rotation disruption Chris Sale’s spring-training elbow injury have cast doubt over whether Boston would (and hopefully will) contend for a spot in the MLB playoffs.

However, MLB’s decisions to suspend spring training and delay the start of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus outbreak has put the competition among teams on the back-burner, and comissioner Rob Manfred said Wednesday night on ESPN’s “Sportscenter” he’s unsure when the season will begin.

With all this uncertainty, ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle speculated on how a shortened season will affect the Red Sox’s chances for success in a potentially shortened season.

“How they’re impacted by the shutdown: Boston’s playoff odds have plummeted over the offseason, thanks to the dealing away of franchise cornerstone Mookie Betts, and punctuated by Chris Sale’s season-ending elbow surgery,” Doolittle wrote. “A short season gives the Red Sox a mathematical boost thanks to sheer randomness. If that’s not a marketing pitch, we don’t know what is. More tangibly, Boston won’t have as many innings to cover with what looks like a woefully thin starting rotation.”

Amid widespread COVID-19 fears and uncertainty over how and when sports will return to normalcy, Doolittle’s prediction might bring some solace to Red Sox fans. After all, the 2013 Red Sox famously banded together in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, helped rally the city and region and rode that momentum all the way to the World Series title.

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