Don't even use that as an excuse. I don't believe there is such a thing. What I do believe is that the Red Sox are failing in places where they were thriving last year. One run games, OPS, Center Field, leadoff, starting pitching, and the list goes on. Last season, the Red Sox were a respectable 21-21 in one run games. This year that mark is down a little to 3-6. Jon Lester and John Lackey have held their own, going 4-5 with a 2.67 ERA and 5-3 with a 4.01 ERA respectively. The rest of the rotation boasts a record of 5-10 with an ERA of 5.25. That will not help. Their bullpen hasn't been too bad. But when you're digging into your bullpen in the 5th inning 2 or 3 times a week, chances are you're not going to be successful. And with Doubront DL bound, the sox are going to need reinforcement. Look for a call up or two.
They are missing that consistent top of the order bat that Jacoby Ellsbury brought to the table when he wasn't hurt. I knew he was gone at the end of the year and I was fine with that. But after really analyzing how important he was, I kind of miss him. You miss that .300 batting average, you miss the 45 to 50 stolen bases, you miss the game changing gap grab in deep right center. You miss it all pretty much. Injuries, not so much. But it still got him a payday. How much did he really need? Oh, that's just topic for another discussion. Regardless, you miss those intangibles. Red Sox CF currently combine to hit for a meager .212 batting average with 2 HR and 27 RBI. And with only 3 stolen bases, there's not a ton going on here. While Jackie Bradley Jr. plays a solid center field, he looks completely lost at the dish. Swing looks great, results are terrible. I wouldn't go as far to say the sox rushed him up too early, I think he's earned his way to the big club. But I'm certainly not opposed to letting him go back down to Pawtucket and get consistent, quality at bats. Grady Sizemore has a tremendous feel good story. How can you not appreciate the adversity? To be told that you're pretty much done playing because of your chronic knee and back injuries, only to defy all those odds, sign a major league contract with the Red Sox, tear the cover off the ball all spring training, and become the opening day outfielder. Even hitting your first homerun in two years. Amazing story. Now he's scuffling. To a point where he has now become a platoon player between left field and center. I'm a huge Grady fan. And I wish he can overcome this slump because he could prove to be extremely valuable to this team. But right now he's not getting it done.
They are not getting those timely hits time and time again as they try to fix this so called "sinking ship". They have been atrocious with runners in scoring position, toting a .240 batting average. This is something that can improve and most certainly will have to improve if they have playoff aspirations in October. Your sluggers, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli, have 11 HR with 25 RBI and 5 HR with 22 RBI. What's that tell ya? They need base runners. They need those timely hits.
Now as I write, the Sox are down to the Blue Jays 7-2 in the top of the seventh. They boast a better record then the Red Sox now that they have swept them.
Is it time to panic, New England?!
I give a resoundingly loud "NO!"
They don't need to sell at the trade deadline. They don't need to buy right now and make a major splash for a rental player. They don't need to go get this big name pitcher or offensive weapon, depleting the whole farm system so they can finish the year two or three game over .500. What needs to be done is:
Getting those timely hits.
Quality starts from your rotation.
Play some small ball, bunt to move a runner into scoring position.
Don't be afraid to steal, it's part of the game.
I have no reason to think they won't be knocking on the Playoffs door. Eventually things will fall into place. Resigning Stephen Drew is the start of that. I still have faith in Will Middlebrooks as a potential stud. But he's struggling at the dish and injured. With Bogaerts struggling mightily at short, moving him to third in the short term will pay dividends. Stephen Drews solid SS play will go unheralded, but will be big down the stretch.
I have no problem with calling up some of the kids that appear to be ready for Major League action. My future father in-law would kill me for not mentioning top prospect Mookie Betts. He's been telling me to watch this guy perform when you get the chance. Reading and watching videos of him on the farm, I can see why he views him as a top prospect. He recently just ended an on base streak of 71 straight games. Has solid at bats, hits to all fields, patient, and plays a solid 2nd base. 2nd base you say? Yes, 2nd. Yes, Dustin Pedroia occupies that position, but Mookie has been starting games in Center Field for the last week, a position he played in high school. I would have no issue giving him a shot to jolt some life into a struggling Sox offense that needs it. Sorry Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gonzalez, Chase Headley, Jeff Samardzija, the Sox don't need to give up the farm for you. Would I love to have you in a Sox uni? Of course. But not at the expense of my farm, consisting of homegrown major league ready talent such as a Workman, Britton, Owens, Betts, Brentz, De La Rosa, Webster, and again, my future father in law would kill me for not mention Garin Cechinni. He's also ready. Future is bright for certain for the Sox. The present, a little hazy. But it's still May. There's still 120 some odd games to go. Relax.
While they are currently fourth in the division at 5 games under .500, they have hung in tight, weathering the storm. Currently sitting 4 games back of the AL East leader. The division is beating up on each other this year and I think it will stay that way until pretty much damn near the end of the season.
I predict wild card at the very least.
So sit back and relax, New England. All will be fine with the Sox. Enjoy the ride because it's going to be an interesting summer. A summer worth watching. So be prepared. There will be happy Sweet Carolines sung. There will be big time walk off wins. There will be extremely irritable fans after a tough loss. There will be light at the end of the tunnel. So for the love of god, it's not that bad. Put down the beer. The glass of wine. The tissues. Put down the cheesecake. They're 45 games in. Give them some time. Start worrying in July.
Like Terrell Owens said, hope you got your popcorn ready. This season is going to be as dramatic as Aaron Boone's homerun off Wake in 2003. Wait, no... Yankee reference. As dramatic as Manny's cutoff of Johnny Damon. Noooo, well wait. That was pretty amazing actually.