So a month in and, well, it wasn't the coronation that everyone was expecting.
Editor's note - May is off to a good start. Beating the defending CY Young pitcher and the pitcher who would win the one month 2011 Cy Young in their first two starts. But back to April.
All along, I thought the starters would be about what they were last year. Refer to this post. And I'm sure it is elsewhere in comments, etc.
"Last year. Starters were 70-50 with a 4.17 ERA (6th in league). I think they will be pretty close to that this year. Maybe a tad better. We know they offense is going to score the most or second most runs in the league. So the difference from last year is the bullpen."
Granted its been a bit up and down. Actually down then up. Adn right now the starters are 10-10 3.75. Breaking it down Grieve style:
Lester is the stud he was last year.
Dice-BB has been pretty much Dice-BB. Two awesome outings. And then three outings w 11 IP total. Overall result 3.81 but I expect more of the 5IP Dice than the one hitter Dice.
Lackey overall has been the same 5+ Lackey as last year. But has shown promise in the last three starts.
And that leaves Beckett and Bucholz - who have essentially flip flopped. I also wrote somewhere that I expected either Lester or Bucholz to fade a bit, but Beckett or Lackey to step forward. All of which is kind of happening.
Bottom line - its still early. Some of this will sort itself out. Bucholz is probably hurt, thus the diminished results, but the starting pitching feels like last year.
In short, now that the first week of the rotation getting hammered appears to have been a blip (save Bucholz and the long ball), no need to panic about SP.
This was last year's Achilles. And I don't feel much better about this year's pen. Yet. The ERA of this group 5.02. Jenks and Wheeler were the $$ acquisitions. And they have sucked.
I never thought I would say this. And I shutter a bit as I type it. Thank goodness for Paps. What a shock, the contract year has lit a fire under his ass. Hope he keeps it up. Saves 40 games, including 8 in October. And then some dumbass team pays him $50. And we'll get to hear him trash Boston all winter. But I digress, nice to see him mix it up a bit and not pump all FB.
Bard - again a workhorse with an occasional blip. But clearly Tito trusts him. A lot. As he should.
Dubront (sent to AAA), Oki, Reyes (already cut) - not holding their own either.
Bottom line - they have too much invested in Jenks and Wheeler to not keep running them out there. the scary thing with Jenks is that he can look filthy for a stretch. And then boom lose it. Hopefully they all settle down. And the results will come. If not Theo will keep running new faces into the 1-2 spots he has flexibility with.
And Wake, bless him for that start yesterday, but long term, I don't know how they can keep justifying that roster spot. Especially if some guys are struggling.
Now..... the lineup.
I had visions of going through them all. But not really much point. They will score runs in bunches. Just like they did tonight. Sure they are susceptible to LHP. Particularly starters. But I think that will be fine in the long run. Crawford will be fine. Gonzalez should hit for a bit more power. We;d like Elsbury to get on base a bit more. Pedey and Youk have lower than expected AVG, but their OBP are okay and YOuk's power is there. Drew is Drew. Papi is Papi (Lite).
The only real problem that warrants watching. And I know its a real chorus. Catcher. As much as they talk about how they are being patient, etc. I have to wonder how long they can keep running Salty out there. And if they are really comfortable with Tek catching 3 times per week. He is old. And then if he breaks down, they are screwed. Salty looks lost back there at times. Adn he is in the lineup for his bat. But .204/.259/.259? A week and a half ago, Gammons was saying that it wouldn't surprise him if the Sox made a move back then. I imagine the pressure is only mounting.
Benji Molina is available although he'd cost $$$. Or bring up one of the AA guys. Apparently the Federowicz guy is for real. We'll see.
All told. My bottom line. No need to panic. It was a bad month, but they are starting to show some encouraging signs.
Now if they can just solve C and stay away from LH starters. And apparently it would be nice to play 162 games vs the Angels.