In case you've forgotten based on how bad their season has gone, the Boston Red Sox did, in fact, win it all in 2013. Their title defense, however, has taken a turn for the worse with a 12-16 June, and they currently sit in last place in the AL East at 44-52.
How They Can Get Back into the Race
1) Reach Potential
Boston went into the season hoping to get solid, or at least capable, play from a pair of highly regarded rookies at two up-the-middle positions, but center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and shortstop Xander Bogaerts have been inconsistent and unreliable. The former has a .612 OPS, while the latter's is only slightly better at .669.
Bogaerts has been in a tailspin at the plate of late, as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald notes:
Over [Bogaerts'] last 29 games, since June 8, he’s 11-for-107, a .103 average, that included an 0-for-25 drought. He has one extra-base hit — a solo homer June 13 against Indians closer Cody Allen — and an inconceivably dreadful .271 OPS.
Unless these two, particularly Bogaerts, can make some sort of impact now that they have more than half a season of fairly regular playing time under their belts, there's very little hope for the Red Sox when it comes to defending their crown.
2) Make Use of the Farm
Although Bradley and Bogaerts haven't quite worked out yet, that doesn't mean this club shouldn't turn to its pool of talented prospects for a spark or three.
With one of the best and deepest batches of youngsters in the sport, the Red Sox can shake things up on the mound by making use of right-handers like Rubby De La Rosa, Brandon Workman, Allen Webster and Anthony Ranaudo. On the position player side, third baseman/left fielder Garin Cecchini might get another shot to come up and do something positive, like outfielder Mookie Betts and catcher Christian Vazquez have recently.
3) Find Last Year's Offense
After leading the majors in runs last year—by a wide margin—Boston actually ranks second to last in the AL. Sure, the Sox lost Jacoby Ellsbury in free agency and have dealt with injuries to Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli, but that kind of drop-off is hard to believe.
Then again, those Opening Day rookies haven't worked out (duh), and stalwarts David Ortiz (.843 OPS down from .959) and Dustin Pedroia (.727 from .787) have been less productive than just about anyone could have imagined. Ideally, both sets of hitters would show something in the second half, but it may come down to the veterans having to pick up the slack for the still-finding-their-way first-year hitters.