God I love baseball season but this year might be the first time I’ll have to satiate that love by watching other squads because the Boston Red Sox through 15 games are giving me nothing. T
hank god for the rain out on Sunday or else a weekend that should have been great (Happy 100th Fenway) could have turned into the next Boston Massacre.
After watching Clay Bucholz let the Yankees tee off on Friday the Sox looked like they might be able to bounce back with a nice blowout win of the pinstriped squad but somehow, someway gave up back to back seven run innings and blew a 9-0 lead. Thank god I was not around a television at any point during the day Saturday and was spared the atrocity of that game. The rainout was the best nine innings of baseball the Sox played all weekend really.
But the Sox were at the end of a brutal schedule to start the season anwere finally playing a team that they should handle in Minnesota last night. They went up 3-0 early but Jon Lester was horrendous on the mound after the first few innings and although the Sox pulled out the win 6-5 (Thank You Cody Ross) it didn’t feel like much of a win.
And the No. 1 issue is obvious to anyone watching. It’s not Bobby V. It’s the players, specifically the pitchers. I have been adamant about being against Bobby V since his name was first whispered after Terry Francona was run out of town but it doesn’t matter if the Sox brought in Tony La Russa. If the team can’t pitch, it can’t win.
On the season the team is allowing 6.67 runs per game as a team. That is the worst mark in the American League right now and is over a run of the team in second (the Twins with 5.35 per game There is no pitcher on the staff who has really excelled. Lester’s outing last night comes after he was destroyed by the Texas Rangers last Wednesday afterwards he admitted “I flat stunk”.
Lester’s struggles are really alarming, despite him pitching well to begin the
season, including going toe to toe with Justin Verlander on opening day. Lester is without a win yet this season and sports a 6.00 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. In last night’s game he gave up the bulk of his runs on a pair of pitches where he was up either 0-2 or 1-2 on the batter. First he left a hanging curveball to Ryan Doumit that got turned into a two-run double, despite an 0-2 advantage. In that situation you have to keep it out of the zone. Waste the pitch. Put it nowhere near the zone. The next batter was Danny Valencia and after getting ahead 1-2 Lester then allowed a two-run home run giving the Twins the 4-3 lead.
What seems to be hurting Lester is his inability to throw strikes consistently. He just looks like he'[s always laboring and when you’ve thrown six hundred pitches in the fourth inning it’s tough to stay sharp and put the ball where you want.
It isn’t just Lester who’s struggled out of the rotation. Clay Bucholz is allowing a run per inning he pitches, that’s right a 9.00 ERA and although Josh Beckett has been better in his last to starts (1-1 15 IP, 4 ER, 8 Ks)none of the teams top three has really looked like a guy that can be relied on. Felix Doubront is still young and has shown flashes of both positive and negative so far which is nice but when the 24-year-old rookie is the best starting pitcher on the team so far it is certainly unsettling to say the least.
Meanwhile Daisuke Matsuzaka gave up a pair of bombs in his first rehab start, Daniel Bard pitched pretty well but now who knows if he’s coming out of the bullpen or starting and although Aaron Cook is still in the wings clearly there is no immediate help coming. Speaking of Bard didn’t we watch the Yankees do this same thing to Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes? So awesome we lose a good bullpen arm and a starter all in one player because the team can’t decide what to do with him.
Every national writer and media outlet is still claiming it’s too early to get too worried about the Sox but when you’re getting plowed by playoff teams and squeaking by teams with rosters that are as formidable as some minor league clubs it certainly isn’t right to be confident. Oh they’ll work it out. They’ll be fine. However fine is starting to look like third place and 80 wins.
The rest of the sporting world hates Boston for it but in the 617 third place and a record near .500 isn’t fine. The Patriots are out contending for Super Bowls, the Celtics are winning Division titles and making second round runs in the playoffs ever year and the Bruins are coming off a Stanley Cup. Are the Sox about to become Mr. Irrelevant in the Boston sports scene? (At least as far as success goes, the Sox will always be the No. 1 team in Boston.)
Yet again I’ll ask; Am I being too harsh? Not harsh enough? What’s up with the Sox pitching? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter (@seeuinoctober).