Boston Red Sox

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 15: Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom addresses the departure of Alex Cora as manager of the Boston Red Sox during a press conference at Fenway Park on January 15, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. A MLB investigation concluded that Cora was involved in the Houston Astros sign stealing operation in 2017 while he was the bench coach. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

When things go awry, we often point fingers. And in the case of the 2022 Red Sox, the three biggest failures of chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom are pretty easy to identify.

First base. Right field. The bullpen.

And not necessarily in that order.

As usual, the devil is in the details. But if you’re looking for specific reasons the Red Sox are floundering nearly 100 games into the 2022 season, we’ll break down the particulars for you.

  • They’re a disaster at first base – and have been for much of two seasons

    CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 26: Franchy Cordero #16 of the Boston Red Sox reacts to striking out during the fifth inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field on June 26, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

    CLEVELAND, OH – JUNE 26: Franchy Cordero #16 of the Boston Red Sox reacts to striking out during the fifth inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field on June 26, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

    That’s right. A disaster. And that’s not hyperbole. Last year, after bringing in Kyle Schwarber and shoehorning him into first base, the Sox got some much-needed production at the position.

    Just the same, they finished last in baseball in defensive runs saved. (Translation: they were the worst defensive team in the game at the position.)

    So what did they do? They let Schwarber go and didn’t replace him in any capacity. The tandem of Bobby Dalbec and Franchy Cordero ranks 30th in baseball in OPS and 30th in runs saved. Dead last in both. Social services would call this neglect.

  • Right field? Wrong choice

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 31: Jackie Bradley Jr. #19 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after striking out during the eighth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Fenway Park on May 31, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – MAY 31: Jackie Bradley Jr. #19 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after striking out during the eighth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Fenway Park on May 31, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    If you’re looking for a transaction that symbolizes the organizational mindset of the 2022 Red Sox, look no further than the change they made in right field.

    Hunter Renfroe will never been confused with Dwight Evans, but the Sox finished fourth in the AL in OPS with him at the position last season. Trading Renfroe made sense to capitalize on his 31-homer season, but the return did not. The Sox got a pair of low-level minor leaguers (Alex Binelas and David Hamilton) while taking on Jackie Bradley and his contract.

    The result? The Sox rank dead last in the AL in OPS in RF. Bradley is batting .150 in his last 29 games with 12 hits, just two of which went for extra bases. He has one home run for the season.

  • The Garrett Whitlock debacle

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JUNE 01: Starting pitcher Garrett Whitlock #72 of the Boston Red Sox throws against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning at Fenway Park on June 01, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – JUNE 01: Starting pitcher Garrett Whitlock #72 of the Boston Red Sox throws against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning at Fenway Park on June 01, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    As has been the case at first base, the Red Sox have had problems in the bullpen for two seasons. Last year, according to Fangraphs, Whitlock ranked 16th among all major league relievers in WAR. The only other Sox relievers in the top 100 were Matt Barnes (who was awful in the second half) and Adam Ottavino (who was let go).

    So what did the Sox do? They inexplicably put Whitlock in the starting rotation and turned their bullpen fire into a raging inferno. They are just 19-of-39 in save opportunities this season and, adding further insult, Whitlock got injured as a starter. He returned to the relief corps over the weekend and looked dominant, contributing mightily to the team’s only win.