Crazy stat shows Red Sox's start as World Series champs is historically bad


The Boston Red Sox still have a ton of time to turn around their 2019 season, but their start to the year has been one of the worst in recent memory for a defending World Series champion.

Boston was shut out by the Oakland Athletics for a second consecutive game Tuesday night in a 1-0 loss at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

The defeat was Boston's fourth in a row, dropping its record to 1-5. As ESPN Stats & Info tweeted early Wednesday morning, that's the worst record to begin a season by a reigning World Series winner in more than 20 years.

There are a few differences between this Red Sox team and that 1998 Florida Marlins squad. The Marlins gutted their team after winning the 1997 World Series, so their roster in 1998 was far worse talent-wise than the year before. Florida's poor start wasn't a massive surprise.

The 1998 Marlins also became the first World Series winner to finish last in its division the following year, and their 11-game losing streak in 1998 still stands as the longest such streak for a defending champion.

The Red Sox won't be that bad -- not even close. Boston still has one of the most talented rosters in all of baseball. But the Sox already are four games back in the American League East standings, and the division might not be as bad as some people predicted before the year. For that reason, and several others, Boston needs to show some improvement ASAP.

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