My Week 1 assessment: The offense--despite Youk's hot bat--is brutal.
Is it too early to panic? Probably, but let's talk next week.
Eric is the usual stat junkie, but let's just roll over some of the difficult, beard-scratching facts that we must face after 8 games (nearly 5% of the season):
- Red Sox are ranked 24 out of 30 in Batting Average at .237
- With an On Base Percentage of .318, Slugging of .388
- Red Sox are ranked 27 out of 30 in Runs Batted In (27)
- Red Sox are ranked 1 out of 30 in Ground Outs (97) and Assisted Outs (97)
- Red Sox are scoring an average of 3.63 runs per game
Can you blame it on the scheduling (home for 3 games, then road games across with timezone shifting in Anaheim and Oakland)? The WBC? Is Mike Lowell's hip a liability? Will Drew return to first-half 2008 form? Can Ellsbury be a real lead off guy? Is it just me, or does Ortiz's timing look way off?
I was at Fenway for the home opener last Tuesday and Beckett was in post-season form (I'm talking the 2007 post season domination, not the shaky 2008 oblique strain challenge). It was awesome, and I expect (pray for) more of that this year.
Pedroia hit a nice bomb over the Monster. Tek (Tek!) had a dinger batting left-handed and it went past Pesky's pole. Things were April gray, the tight wooden seats in right field were damp with New England moisture and exicted anticipation. And the Sox played like the kind of playoff contending team the experts were predicting. Solid pitching, timely hitting.
Since then, I've watched way too many guys left on base. The timely hitting seems to be circling Fenway stalls looking for Remdawgs (no longer called that by the way, now called Monster Dawgs-- here's why).
While I'd like to be able to stay calm and give myself the "it's a marathon, not a sprint" pep talk, 4 games back in this division is none too comforting right now. It makes it harder though seeing how real the Rays are again, and the potential for that team in the Bronx to pitch its way in to the playoffs. Meanwhile, Adam Lind in Toronto along with Adam Jones and Nick Markakis in B-More have started to really light things up. Can those teams contend? I don't think they have the pitching, but still, this first week makes you reevaluate all of your assumptions.
I have to stop the madness, take a breath and remember that every offense goes through slumps. I just didn't expect it to be so freaking soon.
Let's go Wake!