Far sooner than they could have imagined, the 2019 Red Sox find themselves at a crossroads this weekend.
Having bumbled their way to a 6-13 start, their worst in 23 seasons, the Sox are already a yawning 8.5 games out of first place in the American League East.
They trail not the New York Yankees -- who swept them in their just-completed two-game series, lead them in the standings by three games and have managed to remain near the .500 mark despite a litany of injuries -- but to the Tampa Bay Rays, conveniently or not, their opponents for the next three game beginning Friday night.
Thanks to databases and sites like BaseballReference.com, it's easy to match the Red Sox start with similarly disappointing Aprils from teams in the modern era. Thus, we learn that the 2002 Anaheim Angels were 6-14, one game worse than the current Red Sox, but managed to rebound and win the World Series that October. The previous year, the 2001 Oakland A's executed a radical turnaround after a 6-13 beginning, eventually winning 102 games.
So there's precedent. Two other teams in the wild-card era dug themselves early-season holes and willed themselves to the postseason.
But it's not exactly commonplace. Worse, watching the Red Sox through the first three weeks of this season, it's a stretch to imagine them pivoting so sharply and hauling themselves back into contention.