Eight games into the 2010 season, the Boston Red Sox are exactly even. They’ve won four games, they’ve lost four games, and we’ve seen some early indications of what the rest of the season might look like. So, what have we learned so far?
Well, for one, the Red Sox can hit. This may have been the biggest concern amongst Bostonians, and while the Red Sox certainly have played in a couple of games where they could have used a few more hits, they have shown that they do have the capability to score runs.
In each of their four wins, the Red Sox have scored six or more runs. On the flip side of that, the Red Sox have yet to win a game in which they have scored less than six runs. This, to me, is more surprising than the fact that they can hit. All offseason, we’ve been hearing about “run prevention”, yet the least amount of runs that the Red Sox gave up so far this season came in the final game against the Yankees, when the Yankees left Boston with a 3-1 win.
What does this mean? The pitching staff isn’t quite there yet. Early in the season, it’s really difficult to assess a pitching staff. They have not yet gotten into a full rhythm, and most of what you see in April is not too indicative of what a pitcher will do over the course of the year.
Yet the bullpen does seem to be a concern. Three of the four Red Sox losses were charged to relievers, and they were charged to the Red Sox’s “best” relievers at that. Okajima took the loss after giving up an eighth inning go-ahead run to the Yankees on April 6th. Papelbon gave up two runs in the top of the tenth the next day. Bard gave up a two-run single to Rick Ankiel in the bottom of the eighth inning on April 9th, blowing a 3-2 Red Sox lead.
While this may be yet another example of early season pitching, the Red Sox don’t have much room for error in the bullpen. Ramon Ramirez has been terrible for the Sox. He’s made three appearances in 1.1 innings of work and has earned a 33.75 ERA. Scott Schoenweis has been okay so far, but at 36 years old, he’s a liability to break down at any moment.
Then there is J.D. Drew, hiding in the shadow of David Ortiz’s batting struggles. Drew is batting just .167, garnering four hits in 24 at-bats. Want to know who else has only four hits on the season? Yes, that would be David Ortiz. Drew is second on the team with strikeouts (10) and is tied for second-to-last on the team with seven total bases. Aside from his one home run, Drew has three singles, and none of those singles have helped the team. His two RBIs come from the home run.
But with every negative, there is a positive. At least for me, Jeremy Hermida has been a great surprise. With Jacoby Ellsbury out of the line-up for the rest of the road trip, Hermida has gotten four starts in left field. He’s made his presence felt.
Hermida is 5-for-14 on the season and has six RBIs. Last night, Hermida hit a three-run double in the eighth inning to help propel the Red Sox to a 6-3 victory. As Ellsbury recovers from bruised ribs, and with a new Mike Cameron abdominal strain, Hermida will continue to see action in the outfield, and the Red Sox have to be excited about what he can do.
The Red Sox will be playing in the rubber game of their opening series against the Minnesota Twins today. Tim Wakefield will be on the mound looking for his first victory of the season, and the Red Sox will attempt to improve to over .500. And, only eight games into the season, anything could happen today.
picture from boston.com