The Boston Red Sox have started the season of May in shambles going 0-4 in the four games played so far in the month; but before we get to that, let’s look back to the team’s first month of the season.
With bigger aspirations surrounding the team with the additions of left fielder Hanley Ramirez and third baseman Pablo Sandoval, the Red Sox lineup had the pop which it lacked in recent years. A healthy Dustin Pedroia and the emergence of Mookie Betts gave the Red Sox a one-through-six like never before. The main question mark? Pitching.
We knew this going into the season; the starters maybe would give you five quality innings before the bullpen would have to take over but it was worse than that. Twice in the month of April, fourth starter Wade Miley couldn’t get past the second inning.
After a stellar performance in Philadelphia, supposed “ace” Clay Buchholz got shelled by the rival Yankees. Unfortunately, this was more of the norm for the Red Sox in the month of April.
Although the team posted a winning record of 12-10 in the month, they never could really string together a quality win streak. They never swept a team in the month and their best win-streak was just three games. Most of this was due to the pitching, but players getting off to slow starts at the plate didn’t help either.
Mike Napoli is currently hitting .159 this season and hit a slash line of .162/.267/.296 in April, which is not what you want from your projected five hitter. After a huge spring, Betts cooled off right after the Philadelphia Phillies series at the beginning of the year. As well, the supposed outfield depth thinned pretty quickly.
Shane Victorino once again found himself on the DL and after going with him over who many felt would replace him, Rusney Castillo, he too landed on the DL in Pawtucket. The best thing that could have come from this could be allowing Allen Craig to raise his trade value in order to get some much-needed pitching. Pitching? Yes, it always seems to come back to that.
As of today, the Red Sox starting pitching have an average of 5.73 ERA and it’s only getting worse. They haven’t given the Sox a chance to win in the past four games and again have imploded over one inning not over the span of a game.
This is clearly the problem the Red Sox have to address, but it’s going to be a lot more than just trading for a guy like Cole Hamels. The pitchers they have right now need to find it in themselves to be better, they made it to the Major Leagues for a reason.
Now the Red Sox start the month of May from behind, much like the hitters have to do in a single game. They are coming off of a 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays; a team that was projected below them before the season, which is now in fact ahead of the team; actually, every other American League East team is ahead of the Red Sox, who find them in a familiar last place.
The good thing is that it is still very early. This team has the potential to catch fire and catapult themselves to the top of the standings once again. The world isn’t falling just yet, but it all comes down to pitching. Pitching and coaching. John Farrell has to do a better job getting these pitchers ready for said matchup and the hitters better for who they have to face on that day.
Hopefully next month, when this post comes out again, it will be a bit more positive for Boston.