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Boston Red Sox: The Positives to Take from Boston's Terrible Start

Adam MacDonaldAnalyst IIApril 24, 2012

Boston Red Sox: The Positives to Take from Boston's Terrible Start

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    The Boston Red Sox have not started well. They are 5-10, dead last in the AL East, third-last in the American League and 26th in baseball overall.

    The Sox are the only team to have allowed 100 runs this season—only one other team has given up more than 85.

    They blew a 9-0 sixth inning lead against the New York Yankees on Saturday, which extended their losing streak to five games—Boston's longest home win-less spell in six years.

    Boston's closer, Andrew Bailey, is on the DL, setup man Mark Melancon is in Triple-A and Daniel Bard has already been forced back to the bullpen, albeit temporarily. LF Carl Crawford, CF Jacoby Ellsbury and starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka are on the DL. John Lackey will miss the entire season.

    It has not been a good start.

    But it hasn't all been bad news.

Cody Ross

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    If he continued at his pace, Cody Ross would play 162 games this season, hit 54 home runs, drive in 140 and have a .283 batting average.

    The last stat is easily the most realistic there, but the others highlight just how good he has been in the early going.

    He leads the team in home runs with five, two of which came on Monday night.

    His jacks tied and then won the game as he helped Boston end a miserable five-game losing streak.

David Ortiz

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    Cody Ross might have been Boston's best home-run threat so far this season, but David Ortiz has been the team's best all-round hitter.

    Big Papi leads the Red Sox in average, slugging percentage, OPS, hits and total bases.

    His .441 batting average leads the American League.

    Really, the only low point for Papi was the game when he was thrown out attempting to steal second base.

Ryan Sweeney

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    The biggest reason Ryan Sweeney was an attractive acquisition this offseason was his defense, which is excellent in right field.

    A career .286 hitter with a solitary home run in each of his last two seasons, you weren't expecting much from him at the plate.

    Sweeney has started the season brilliantly, though. Hitting at .400, he ranks second on the team in average, hits and doubles and fourth in RBI, total bases and slugging percentage.

    He still hasn't met his annual quota of one home run, though.

Felix Doubront

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    Going purely by the numbers, Felix Doubront's been merely okay.

    Three games started, no record, a 1.50 WHIP and a 3.94 ERA.

    However, compared to Boston's other starters, he looks dominant.

    Never more so than against the Yankees on Saturday night, when he went six innings, allowing just one run on four hits—and that was a (supposedly) meaningless solo home run when Boston already led 9-0.

    He doesn't have a win yet, but the Sox won his first two starts, and Doubront left them with an eight-run lead on Saturday.

Tough Schedule

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    The schedule wasn't kind to Boston out of the gate.

    They opened up with three games in Detroit, who are the bookies' favorites to win the AL Central.

    They then played a tricky Toronto team before returning to Fenway for a difficult home stand.

    The Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers and New York Yankees are all favored to make the playoffs this season, and a stretch of eight games against them is difficult for anyone.

    Of course, dismissing the Sox's struggles as being down to the schedule isn't fair. For one thing, if they have World Series aspirations, they need to beat these teams. But also, you're not going to win many games when you allow seven runs every night.

    At the same time, though, there are probably only two teams that could come back from a 9-0 deficit with such ease.

    Adam MacDonald is a Scottish journalism student at GCU. He has been a featured columnist for the Boston Red Sox since October 2010. You can follow him on Twitter, or tell him how awesome/terrible this article was, by clicking here.

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