Up, they go. Down, they go. Welcome to the Boston Red Sox’s 2023 season.
We’re roughly two months into the Major League Baseball campaign, and it’s still difficult to figure out whether the Red Sox are good, bad or somewhere in the middle. The latter seems most likely, all factors considered, but there’s such a delta between Boston’s peaks and its valleys that any possible outcome for this year remains on the table.
So, how is Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom handling the wild swings in momentum?
“It’s one of those things about baseball,” Bloom said Thursday on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.” “I think, hopefully, we all get better at it over time, but I’m glad you asked, because I think it’s an important part of our jobs — obviously not to do that, just to understand and step back and say, ‘This is a really long season and even 50 games in, there’s still so much more left and you really have no idea how it’s gonna go.’
“But part of the reason I’m glad that you asked is, believe me, I know this is true about me, it’s true about a lot of people I work with, I bet it’s true of most front offices in baseball, I kinda envy people if it’s not true about them: I promise you, when these things are going on during the game, in the privacy of my own home or the suite or wherever, you would probably hear things come out of my mouth that are probably the same things coming out of a lot of fans’ mouths and that you would probably not believe. And it’s just important, you’ve got to take a step back and cool off. Or, if you’re feeling really great about things, understand, hey, you can’t get too high, either.”
The Red Sox entered Thursday’s off day with a 26-24 record, which has them in fourth place in the American League East, a half-game ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays (26-25). Boston trails the division-leading Tampa Bay Rays by 10 games but sits just 2 1/2 games back of the AL’s second wild-card spot.
Could be worse. Could be better. And to further complicate matters, the Red Sox have dealt with various injuries, creating somewhat of an identity crisis for a team that entered 2023 amid tempered outside expectations thanks to an underwhelming 2022.
“When you’re on a winning streak, it feels like you will never lose again. You start getting way ahead of yourself,” Bloom said. “And then when you’re on a losing streak and you’re not hitting, it feels like you’ll never hit again. And that’s also not good. So, you’re going to feel everything you feel. It’s just important to make sure you have people around you who can help you take a breath and step back and just stay focused on the things that ultimately you know are important.”
The Red Sox just dropped four straight, including a three-game sweep against the Los Angeles Angels. The stretch comes on the heels of a four-game winning streak, preceded by another four-game losing streak. In late April and early May, Boston won eight in a row.
Ultimately, one could look at the glass as half-empty or half-full. But Bloom was unwilling to put a letter grade on the Red Sox’s season through 50 games, knowing it’s a nearly impossible task and probably not all that productive as Boston looks toward the future.
“I’m sorry to dodge your question, but I don’t like to think about things that way,” Bloom said on WEEI. “Look, there’s obviously some things to be happy about. Right now, we’ve got a little bit of a bad taste in our mouths just because the last four games in particular were, particularly offensively, we just kinda got away from who we are and who I think we’ve shown we are. We’ve got a long way to go. There’s a lot of positive things that have happened.
“Obviously, the record is what it is. It’s solid but not spectacular, and we want to be better. And that’s been our focus since Day 1 of spring training — we know, obviously going back to last year, we need to be better. I think there’s a lot of areas where we have shown improvement, but we need to keep doing it. Where we are right now, there’s a lot of things to build off of, but we need to keep improving.”
Enjoy the ride.