11 April 2011

How Much Trouble Are The Boston Red Sox In?

The Boston Red Sox were widely viewed to be a contender for the World Series (including me) but they have looked terrible and have sputtered out of the gate to a 2-8 record. Are they in really deep trouble or will they turn out all right?
I am always the optimistic one and I still believe the Red Sox are still one of the better teams in baseball. The offense has sputtered despite two big money acquisitions of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez. But this lineup from top to bottom is way too talented to continue on their putrid pace of scoring 597 runs this season. The interesting case is with Crawford. The issue with him is finding a consistent spot in the lineup as he is not the prototypical leadoff hitter due to his lack of drawing walks and getting on base. I would consider Terry Francona to be more than qualified to find him a comfortable spot.
The major concern is with the pitching staff. The majority of the rotation is over the age of 30 and there seems to be problems with the way Jarrod Saltamacchia, the new catcher for the Sox, handles the pitching staff. For example, did you see Josh Beckett's terrific start on Sunday against the Yankees? Was it a coincidence that it occurred with Jason Varitek behind the plate? No, it was not. But for the clear advantages for the pitching staff to have Varitek as the regular catcher, his bat is simply bad nowadays. It will be interesting to see the catching situation play out over the summer.
Also, I do not love the bullpen and especially the closer, Jonathan Papelbon. His inconsistencies closing out games really hurt the team. The problem is that the likely replacement, Daniel Bard, has no closing experience. And the new guy in the Sox pen, Bobby Jenks, has closer experience but would be an even greater question mark closing out games than Papelbon.
But even with their pitching flaws, the Red Sox do not have to be terribly worried. The Rays look listless, the Orioles look good but their rotation is so young it is still a question mark, and the Blue Jays always hover on the brink. The Yankees have started off well despite the questions in their rotation but the Sox just took the opening series 2 games to 1. I truly believe this Red Sox team is still arguably one of the top teams in the American League and they will prove it as the baseball season turns to summer.

No comments:

Post a Comment