The Boston Red Sox haven't even gotten to the hard part yet.
What they're going through is merely the ugly part. They began 2019 with hopes of authoring a worthy follow-up to last year's fantastical 108 wins and World Series championship. What they've come up with is increasingly resembling a farce.
The Red Sox are fresh off losing eight games in a row, including four straight to the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. They're now only four games over .500 and 16 games out of first place in the American League East.
Perhaps things wouldn't be looking so grim if the Red Sox had done better on the summer trade market. But they kept their risk low when they picked up Andrew Cashner for their starting rotation on July 13. Their bullpen, meanwhile, didn't get any reinforcements before the July 31 deadline. It's early yet, but neither of these maneuvers is aging well.
The Red Sox still have a discernible path to the playoffs via the AL wild-card race. And if they could just get into the postseason, perhaps they can reignite whatever light led them through last October.