From Hope to Despair: The 2023 Red Sox


The Boston Globe

So far, the 2023 Red Sox have had their share of thrilling highs and excruciating lows.

Oliver Henke, Contributing Writer

You may recall the undying hope and eagerness for opening day to arrive in the last issue of the Register Forum. Unfortunately, the Red Sox did not win the spring training championship, as they finished with a .500 record, despite going undefeated in their first 12 games. Early on in the regular season, that winning spirit decidedly has not resurrected itself, and the Sox have started off 5-5 despite weak opponents such as the irrelevant Pirates. The Pittsburgh squad stars the 6′ 7’’ Oneil Cruz, the tallest shortstop in MLB history, and a career .237 hitter with four times as many strikeouts as walks. Speaking of 6’ 7’’, the real question is will the Pirates have 67 wins this year? All jokes aside, they swept the Sox at Fenway, so just wait until the Pirates have a better record than the Red Sox at season’s end.

In reality, this team wasn’t looking half bad until Adam Duvall suffered a wrist fracture while attempting a diving play on April 9th. Duvall had been at the top of the league in numerous offensive categories, and had carried the Boston offense. After this crushing defeat to the Rays, it is difficult to shine light on the roster featuring 0-for-23 Kiké Hernandez, the living rollover machine in Masataka Yoshida, and a patchwork pitching staff that has somewhat survived the first two turns through the rotation. Chris Sale, who claimed the Red Sox were “here to make some noise,” sports a 11.25 ERA (Earned Run Average, 9 times runs given up/innings), which is worse than the Red Sox’ collective ERA of 4.89.

After this crushing defeat to the Rays, it is difficult to shine light on the roster.

I was lucky to be at Fenway when Sale “made some noise” at the second game of the season against the Orioles, and it was one to remember. Sale put the Sox down 7-1 before the team fought back, punctuating the night with a walk-off homer by Adam Duvall. The light show that followed and the playing of “Dirty Water” in front of an electric Fenway injected hope into the veins of Red Sox Nation. The sixth game, a Wednesday afternoon joust with the Pirates, which I attended with the CRLS baseball team, was quite the opposite. The attendance of the game was 24,447, the lowest in over 20 years, and it seemed like 40% of the crowd was there on a field trip and more interested in showing off their foam fingers. Yes, it was a Wednesday afternoon game against the Pirates in cold April weather, but still. Fenway Park should not have stands as empty as Comerica Park (where the Detroit Tigers play) when the Red Sox are beating the Tigers 14-2. 

In three days, when the Red Sox have rebounded to win three straight and take the four game set from the Rays, my tone will be quite different. I will praise the stars of the series, whether it be Bobby Dalbec, Kenley Jansen, or Rafael Devers. But for now, this team looks stuck in the mud. 

Note: This was written in the aftermath of a devastating 1-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, and the opinions voiced in this piece are not necessarily representative of the writer’s overall state of mind.

This article also appears in our April 2023 print edition.