I know I promised you a pitching outlook for the 2011 season, but instead I spent all week looking for tickets to opening day. Having no luck, I decided to take matters in my own hands and attended a “ticket giveaway” at a local bar. I rounded up my friend Bob, and we set out last night determined to win those tickets. Guess what, we are going to Opening Day! Yes, the Red Sox are finally home where they belong after returning from a brutal six game road trip. They are hoping to notch their first win of the season today against the New York Yankees.
First win of the season?!?! What is going on here? Ok, so the season hasn’t quite gone as planned. The Red Sox are 0-6 and off to their worst start in franchise history since 1945. Already fans are getting restless and who could blame them, they have yet to win a game. In fact, the Sox and Tampa Bay are the only winless teams in the entire league. Yes, this is the team that two weeks ago everyone had pegged for world series champions. Let’s discuss some of the highs and lows of the season thus far.
- Congratulations to David Ortiz, who broke Edgar Martinez’ all time RBI record (1,003) for most RBIs by a DH last Saturday. On the same day, Ichiro Suzuki broke Edgar Martinez’ record for all time hits as a Seattle Mariner. Bad day Mr. Martinez? I think so. Although the Sox are off to a dismal start, Big Papi showed us he was all business, hitting 2 HRs in the first two games of the season. Something tells me the focus isn’t going to be on Ortiz this spring, we have other fish to fry at the moment.
- Adrian Gonzalez is exactly what we hoped he would be. He has three multi-hit games and is batting .304, with 1 HR, 5 RBIs, and 2 walks. He has also shown his skills in the field and is the only thing currently holding this team together. I can’t wait to see him tee off at Fenway!
- Jon Lester already demonstrated a night and day performance which is why this belongs in the “highlight” category. Let’s compare his first start to yesterday. We all know Lester is known for being a slow starter so it was nice to see him work out his kinks early.
Last week: 5.1 IP, 6 hits, 5 earned runs, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 88 pitches, 3 home runs.
Yesterday: 7.0 IP, 3 hits, 0 earned runs, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts, 109 pitches.
(the list is VERY long but I will touch upon a few, no need to rehash the nightmare we have been living the past seven days)
- The Red Sox pitching staff gave up 11 home runs against the Texas Rangers last weekend, the most given up in a series since 1919. Then they went on to give up 3 more home runs against Cleveland totaling 14 allowed on the season, the most in the league.
- The Red Sox have the highest ERA in the league at 7.13 and they are in the top three in earned runs allowed at 38. So I am going to avoid breaking down each terrible pitching appearance. Let’s just say they all have been below par.
- Mental errors in the field and on the bases are the inexcusable problems which leads me to believe they are letting all this hype get to them. When I look at them on the field they all seem so disinterested and at times unfocused. Kevin Youkilis is dropping balls and fumbling balls, Jason Varitek is not paying attention on a tag play, Darnell McDonald “slipped” rounding second to end the game yesterday.
So what exactly is going on here? They can’t seem to get all the pieces to the puzzle. There really isn’t one aspect of their game to blame or one person and PLEASE DO NOT EVEN START BLAMING THE MANAGERS (that is a whole different blog topic). One minute it is the pitching staff, the next their lack of offense, then it’s the bullpen. Yesterday, they even lost a well pitched game by Jon Lester. All they can do is put it in the past and hope that coming home to Fenway recharges them and the fans give them the boost they desperately need.
I can’t begin to wrap my head around what transpired last week, which is probably why I haven’t written anything yet. All I can do to cope, is laugh it off. Why? Because I know “this too, shall pass” and hopefully at the end of the season we will have a good story to tell about how the Red Sox came back from a terrible 0-6 start, to finish off the season back in the playoffs where they belong. After all, we were part of the most unbelievable comeback in all of sports so why not go down in history again? Speaking of history, in both 2004 and 2007 when the Red Sox won the world series they started off losing three of their first five games. And when the Yankees won the world series in 1998, they started off 0-3. Yes, 0-3 is a far cry from 0-6, but the point is they all started off slow and finished strong, the only thing that really matters in the game of baseball.
In regards to this upcoming series with the Yankees, who knows what is in store. John Lackey takes the mound tomorrow. Talk about pressure. He needs to rebound from his poor start, he needs to get this team a win, it is opening day AND against the Yankees. I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes tomorrow. In all seriousness, Lackey performed quite well against the Yankees last year with a record of 1-0, an ERA of 1.32 in 13.2 innings pitched. He walked 4, struck out 13 and held the Yankees to a .188 batting average. So if all those stats hold true we have nothing to worry about Something tells me it’s not going to be that simple.
Here’s to their first win sometime REAL soon!
About the Author
Written by "Baseball Brenda" Sepanek
I was born a sports fan. Playing soccer, basketball and softball in high school, then moving on to play Div. II softball at Keene State on partial scholarship. In 2003, our team was inducted into the Keene State Hall of Fame. GO OWLS! I am a die hard Red Sox, Patriots and UNC Tar Heel hoop fan. Most of my friends call me Baseball Brenda because when it comes to ranking my priorities in life, the Red Sox always are first on the list. I average about 40 games a year and I have attended every home playoff game since moving back to MA in 2005. I am super competitive and excel at anything you can win at :) Horseshoes, ping pong, darts, pool, cornhole, and bowling. Always love a good challenge. I play a lot of golf in the summer and a lot of fantasy sports. I am always looking to meet local Sox fans so look me up on Facebook.