Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What’s up with the Red Sox?

It’s only two weeks into the season and all of the worst fears of Red Sox Nation have come true.  The supposedly weak offense has actually been worse than the experts predicted and the pitching, which was supposed to be Boston’s biggest strength, hasn’t yet performed like they are expected to.  The other place where the Red Sox were supposed to be strong, but have shown weakness, is defensively.  What makes it worse is the fact that these defensive mishaps have been committed by the new guys brought in to shore up the defense.  Their weaker offense might be acceptable if they were turning in web gems night after night, but at this early stage in the season, this has yet to be the case.

While Marco Scutaro has been one of the few bright spots in the offense early in the season, he has also been the worst offender on the defensive side of things.  These have been really bad errors on easy chances leading to multiple unearned runs that led directly to losses.  I’m sure this will change as the season progresses, but right now it has some fans wishing that Jed Lowrie could do more than tie his shoe without ending up on the DL.

Speaking of costly errors leading to multiple runs and a loss, next up is Mike Cameron.  Sox fans knew going into this season that Cameron would hit some bombs and for every one that he hit, he’d strike out 6 or 7 times.  So far this season, Cameron has whiffed 8 times without going yard.  He displaced fan favorite Jacoby Ellsbury in center because of his reputation for superior defense, but that wasn’t the case in Clay Buchholz’s last start.  Cameron had an easy fly ball clank off of his glove in the first inning that led to four unearned runs and a tough luck loss for Buchholz who pitched well after that inning.

One signing that I questioned the moment it was made was that of Bill Hall.  He was a monumental bust in Milwaukee and I didn’t see what he could add to the Red Sox roster.  So far, Hall has added more errors than hits.  He’s got one hit in eleven at-bats, but has committed an error at short and an error in the outfield.  Hopefully the Red Sox get healthy and need to fill up Hall’s roster spot with someone else.

Jeremy Hermida is showing signs of improvement.  After tonight, he’s hitting .257 with an error, but he’s hit three home runs and driven in 9.  In the long run, I do think this will end up being a good signing. 

Right now, the “pitching and run prevention” team make-up that was sold to Sox fans during the offseason isn’t panning out.  Lester is notorious for his slow stars and his performance should improve once the calendar page turns.  Dice-K is on a rehab assignment in Pawtucket and will most likely take Wakefield’s spot in the rotation.  I expect him to look a lot more like the Dice-K of 2008 than the Dice-K of 2009 since he’ll finally be healthy again and hopefully he’s done with pitching in the World Baseball Classic.

Things will turn around for the Sox and there’s no way that they’ll continue to lose 60% of their games, but it looks like the only way that the Sox will make the playoffs is if they end up with a rotation that contains two 20-game winners and two 15-game winners.  No matter how well the pitching is, that’s not going to happen without major improvement from the offense.

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