After a 2018 season filled with celebration, 2019 has brought much frustration for Mitch Moreland and his Boston teammates. Friday night’s game was a case in point. Former Mississippi State star Moreland hit two two-run homers, including a game-tying blast in the ninth inning, but the Red Sox lost 5-4 in 11 at Tampa Bay. The defeat would have eliminated defending world champion Boston — and its $228 million payroll — from wild card contention in the American League, but, technically, a win by Cleveland earlier in the night had already done that. For a variety of reasons, the Red Sox (80-73) never were able to recapture the magic that carried them in 2018. “It’s just been an uphill battle the whole year,” Moreland told The Associated Press after Friday’s loss. Changes already have begun in Boston — baseball operations chief Dave Dombrowski and other front office types are out — and it seems likely that Moreland, among several other players, won’t be back in 2020. The 10-year veteran first baseman is a free agent at the end of the season. He has had three fairly productive years for the Red Sox, though his 2019 campaign was marred by two long stints on the injured list from late May to late July. He is batting .245 with 17 homers and 55 RBIs in 85 games. At age 34, he faces an uncertain future in a game being taken over by much younger players.
About The Author
Freelance writer Mike Christensen was a newspaper sportswriter for 30 years, including 26 at the Daily News and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, and is author of the book "Of Mudcat, Boo, The Rope and Oil Can." He covered small college and minor league baseball, including the Jackson Mets, Generals, DiamondKats, Senators and Mississippi Braves, among other duties in his newspaper days. A former youth league second baseman, he is a longtime Atlanta Braves fan and collector of baseball books and cards.