I’ve been optimistic about the Red Sox all season long. I’ve promised friends and family that they will hit. I’ve promised rivals that they will make a run for a World Series title. I’ve promised myself that I will trust in Theo’s plan.
But today, the Red Sox dropped their fourth straight game. They are 4-8, four games below .500 and in fourth place in the division. They have only won one series all season. This is the worst start for the Red Sox since 1996, when they went 2-10 through their first 12 games. The Sox finished the season that year at 85-77, good enough for third in the AL East behind the Yankees and the Orioles.
Yes, the Red Sox are not scoring runs. In worse news, the team that was supposed to be about run prevention is about, well, run allowance. They are ninth in the American League with a 4.05 team ERA, and eleventh in the AL with a .981 fielding percentage. They have given up nine unearned runs in 12 games. Their supposed weakness at the plate is actually their strong point, as they are sixth in the AL with a .260 team batting average.
They have seven errors in their last five games, and have recorded at least one error in four straight games. Mike Cameron, who was supposed to be ridiculous in center field, dropped an easy catch last night. While I understand that he had a kidney stone, if he couldn’t play, he wouldn’t have.
Victor Martinez, who was supposed to be an improvement over Varitek behind the plate, is practically handing over the job to the captain. He’s currently batting .244, Varitek is hitting at a .444 clip. He’s 1-for-14 in caught stealing. While Varitek is 0-for-8, 1-for-14 isn’t much of an improvement.
And then there’s the pitching staff. Oh, the pitching staff. The Sox are supposed to have one of the best rotations in baseball. In reality, Lester, Buchholz and Wakefield are all struggling. The three combined have given up 21 runs in their last 21.1 innings. Prior to his last start, Beckett had been struggling as well, earning a 6.17 ERA over two games while only striking out five batters.
To say it has not been going well in Boston is an understatement. Yes, injuries to Ellsbury and Cameron have thrown the Red Sox a little bit off track, but they are not devastating enough to cause the Red Sox to go 4-8.
Frustrations is already mounting in the clubhouse. Pedroia told reporters last night that the Sox are throwing away games they should be winning. Nobody is hitting in big situations. Fielding has not been great. Pitching has been mediocre.
So where do they go from here? Is it time already for a line-up shake-up? Do they try to work out a trade? Part of me says that it is still very early in the season, but the team seems to just be getting worse instead of getting better. Could one player really make a difference here?
I think what the Red Sox really need to do is some serious soul searching. They need to decide to play tight and to play hard. If they can find a groove where they start winning, rhythm could start to do some work for them. It’s definitely time to re-examine their game plan, but I don’t think one trade would make a huge difference. Lester must figure out what he needs to do to pitch better, Varitek might need to play in more games to put pressure on Martinez to play better. J.D. Drew needs to start hitting. The Red Sox need to start trying harder.
For now, things just look bleak.