Red Sox: No need to panic after uneven month of April

Apr 19, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; General view of Fenway Park while the Boston Red Sox take batting practice prior to a game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 19, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; General view of Fenway Park while the Boston Red Sox take batting practice prior to a game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Red Sox have actually had a rather reasonable April considering all the issues with health that surface. That has certainly not stopped the panic to surface among Red Sox Nation.

Boston Red Sox fans tend to be a rather impatient crew who often castigates the team and players not game to game but occasionally pitch to pitch. The murmurings have already surfaced – some are buried comments in columns and others on the vociferous talk shows where intelligence has long since vaporized.

The standings only encourage the early season parade of black flags as the dreaded New York Yankees are having a spiffy April and have the Red Sox in the rear view mirror. Maybe their youth movement will blossom early?

Where panic should begin is in September if the team is seven games out and even a Wild Card slot appears elusive. That, however, should have a healthy dose of skepticism attached, as even a few seasons ago Boston had a playoff slot on September 1 being 99.7% secured according to some type of convulsive formula. Needless to say reviewing what happened results in baseball PTSD.

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Teams need to find themselves and Boston has a bit more searching than most. Injuries and a virulent form of the flu have affected any consistency in the offense and pitching. Does anyone seriously think the Tampa Bay Rays will continue to rank second in the American League in hitting?

The positives are there for Boston with a pitching staff that is still performing well despite the absence of David Price. Rick Porcello will most certainly take a step back from the glories of 2016, but he is no bindlestiff. Just maybe the most solid of solid number three starters in the league. Even the bullpen has been adequate despite some injuries.

The Big Question is hitting. Boston fans love hitting like I enjoy a visit to Mike’s Bakery in the North End. I still think that a surprising number of fans would rather have a 40 home run bat than Chris Sale. So far the lineup for John Farrell is similar to attempting to do a puzzle with a few parts missing and a few others belonging to the Eiffel Tower and not the London Bridge one you are doing.

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I am not ready to have David Ortiz dragged out of retirement and placed into the lineup. The fact is when Farrell finally has his most set of lineups ready and playing for a week or two the batting will jell. Already we see the usual suspects in the top ten or twenty in hitting. What is alarming to some is the power outage – for historical reference the 104 victories 1946 championship team banged out just 109 dingers.

I really can’t envision this lineup having and significant bludgeoning efforts. Mookie Betts may lead the team, but he appears a rather quiet home run hitter. The type whose final totals leave one saying “He hit that many?” Where the Red Sox will make their usual hitting mark is run production spurred on by gap power so I feel comfortable in saying by mid-June they will replace the Rays at near the top.

Yes – I am optimistic since baseball is a long haul situation. A marathon and not the sprint of football. Teams often can play .700 for a month and suddenly take control, but to play .700 you need the talent. That – of course – is what this team has oodles of – both baseball young and baseball middle age talent. That talent most certainly will click once the weather and the bats heat up.

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The panic button will always be there. Like most Red Sox fans my most pronounced deficit is to avoid the panic itself. There is a world of negative history with the Red Sox of the past, but that is long gone. This is a solid assembly that could conceivably touch 100 wins.