Weekly Superlatives: Mother Nature, Jed Lowrie & Carl Crawford
This season just keeps getting worse. Last Friday, the Red Sox won their home opener at Fenway in an ugly fashion, but a win would be the start of something great, right? Nope. After taking 1 of the remaining 2 games from the Yankees, hopes began to rise once again until the Red Sox dropped their next 2 games against the Rays in rough fashion. They now find themselves sitting at 2-9 on Thursday’s off-day. Even the most pessimistic Red Sox hater couldn’t have seen this coming. The team has lost close games and gotten blown-out on a few occasions and find themselves sitting in last place in the AL East. Yes, it is the 2nd week of April, but 2-9? Given all of that as a back-drop, here is a new edition of Weekly Superlatives.
The ‘Most Likely to Have Mercy on the Red Sox’ Award
By far the greatest moment of the week was when Wednesday night’s finale with the Tampa Bay Rays was rained-out. That basically sums up the struggle this season for the Red Sox. With the added day off Thursday, the team has a chance to really re-group and re-focus before the Toronto Blue Jays come to town on Friday. Every part of the team has struggled this season and when one area begins to shine (starting pitching in a few occasions), the offense fails them. Pitchers and hitters are pressing, looking for that magical hit or pitch that will break the slump, but are in turn not relaxing and just playing their game. Pitchers are looking for perfect pitches every time instead of relying on their stuff and hitters are chasing balls and watching called-third strike calls like it is their job. Mother Nature believes in the Red Sox and decided to give them a break to re-group. Now it is up to the players to take advantage of those few days.
The ‘Most Likely to Provide a Spark to a Flat-Lining Team’ Award
The Red Sox limped into their 11th game of the season at 2-8, looking for a spark, any spark. Jon Lester threw a solid game, allowing just 3 runs in 7 innings, striking out 8, but the story of the game was Jed Lowrie. The Sox could not pull off the victory, but the back-up infielder was hot at the plate. He belted 2 doubles in 4 at-bats with 1 RBI and brought his season average up to .438. In 7 games, 16 at-bats, Lowrie has looked solid, certainly better than most other hitters on the roster. He has played 2nd, 3rd, and shortstop and will continue to play a significant role if this team wants to turn their season around. Francona needs to find a way to play Lowrie on a daily basis, because his bat is too valuable and he provides a little jump in an otherwise flat lineup. When given playing time, as proven last season, Lowrie can hit for a solid high-.200’s average and drive in his share of runs. He can provide some fire on this boring team. Let him play.
The ‘Least Likely to Stay in a Slump’ Award
Giving players the benefit of the doubt is easy when a team is still winning, but impossible when a team is struggling. That is the case with Carl Crawford in the beginning of his tenure with the Red Sox. If there is one thing we know about Crawford, it is that he can hit and use his speed on the base-paths extremely effectively. He spent a lot of time in Tampa burning the Red Sox with both of those skills. He has hit not hit below .281 in a season in which he played at least 110 games, so the chances that changes this year are low. He knows the AL East, but needs to adjust to his new pressure-filled, media-centered city, which has been a struggle thus far. Like many other players, he is pressing and not relaxing at the plate. Once the team begins to relax and play better, Crawford will begin to hit for a high average and prove his worth in Boston. It is only a matter of time: it is not if, but when for the multi-talented outfielder.
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