Posted on August 12, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine

Boston Red Sox Michael Chavis
Image via BostonGlobe.com

The Boston Red Sox saw their increasingly slim playoff odds take a slight hit on Monday. The club has placed rookie infielder Michael Chavis on the 10-day Injured List because of a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder. There is no specific timeline on his return, but Chavis is unlikely to return before September. The Red Sox have called up Marco Hernandez to take his spot on the roster.

It’s unclear when and how Chavis hurt his shoulder. He left for a pinch-hitter in the 8th inning of Sunday’s loss to the Angels. However, it’s likely that Chavis was hurt prior to that. He’s been in a slump since the all-star break and is hitting just .156 during the month of August. A should issue could explain his recent struggles with the bat.

Prior to going on the IL, the 24-year-old Chavis had been having a promising rookie campaign. He turned into a pleasant surprise for Boston after making his big league debut the third week of April. Despite his recent slump, Chavis is hitting .254 with an OPS of .766, contributing 18 home runs and 58 RBIs, which ranks second to Pete Alonso of the Mets among rookies.

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Equally important for the Red Sox, Chavis has versatile defensively. While a natural third baseman with some experience at first base, Chavis has spent most of his time in the majors at second base. That position has been a question mark for Boston the last couple of years with Dustin Pedroia battling chronic knee problems. But Chavis and Brock Holt have formed a suitable tandem this year. Chavis has also helped fill in at first base with both Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce missing time due to injury.

With Chavis unavailable for the foreseeable future, Holt should expect to see more time at second base. The left-hand hitting utility man is having a breakout season, hitting .316 with an OPS of .811. However, Holt is hitting just .222 against lefties and provides little power, two areas where Chavis has excelled this season. Chris Owings will likely share time with Holt after getting called up on Sunday. He was having an excellent season at triple-A but hit .133 with the Royals before being released in early June.

Of course, Chavis being hurt is the lead of Boston’s problems right now. The Red Sox are 4-8 in August and have lost 11 of their last 15 overall. They’ve fallen completely out of contention in the AL East and are a distant 7.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. The club needs to make a drastic turnaround in short order if they expect to have any chance of reaching the postseason to defend their World Series title.

On the bright side, the Red Sox have no shortage of offensive players. They rank second in the majors in runs scored, as their pitching staff has been more of their problem this year. However, there is likely to be a drop-off in the productivity they get at second base with Chavis out of the lineup. Given the state of their pitching staff, they need to score all of the runs they can to win games. In short, the loss of Chavis is one more hurdle to overcome as the Red Sox try to climb back into a playoff spot.

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