The Red Sox are once again looking like a team that will finish April at or near the bottom of the pack in the AL East. Thing’s aren’t quite as bad as 2011, as far as record anyways. The problems are there though and they may be more concerning than they were last year.
The problem I’ve noticed–and I’m sure everyone else has at this point–is the Red Sox pitching is having trouble beating formidable offenses, not that I’d call the Rangers only “formidable” but you get the point.
It started with a Tigers tee-off at Comerica Park to open the season, extended to Toronto (although not as much) where the Sox lost two out of three and is obviously a problem again with the Rangers in town for a two game set at Fenway.
In the opening series at Comerica the Red Sox were outscored 26-14 on their way to another sweep out of the gate. The Toronto series was much closer in terms of scoring with the Jays outpacing the Sox 14-8 and taking 2 out of 3.
The Red Sox turned things around in a four game set against the Rays weak lineup, leading the offense 31-11, but now that another high-powered offense is in town, the Red Sox pitchers had trouble putting up zero’s once again on their way to an 18-3 beantown beatdown.
Jon Lester and Mark Melancon were embarrassed to the tune of 13 runs combined and 4 HR in just 2 IP. Of course that’s a little unfair to Lester because Melancon allowed 6 runs and 3 HR without recording an out but you get the idea, it wasn’t a good night for Sox pitching.
The struggles weren’t limited to the pitching though, the Red Sox’ defense had problems, they couldn’t run the bases and the whole game should be filed away under the “never open this again if you value your self-esteem” category.
Cody Ross completely whiffed on a weak fly ball that my daughter could have caught with her tee-ball mitt, Kevin Youkilis misplayed a one-hopper that would have resulted in a force at home had he fielded it and Jason Repko was thrown out at second base on a sharply hit liner to the corner in left with two outs in the inning. Ugly, just plain out ugly.
The conclusion that I’ve gathered at this juncture in the season is the Red Sox can’t beat the best teams in the American League. I realize that “it’s still early” and things can change in a hurry in this game of highs and lows that average out but when is it reasonable to get concerned? When do we say that this isn’t just early season struggles and admit that Benny didn’t do enough to make this team competitive in a league that got significantly better? If the time isn’t now, it has to be soon.