10 Things We Learned About Red Sox Through the First Quarter of the Season
With a quarter of the season in the books, the Red Sox still have plenty to prove in one of the toughest divisions in MLB. Nevertheless, there have been several bright spots mixed in with the bad and multiple signs of hope for this team going forward, such as its pitching staff.
Joel Hanrahan Is Not Ready for Boston
Joel Hanrahan will miss the remainder of the season to surgically repair a torn flexor tendon.
The Red Sox mainly gave up Mark Melancon and Jerry Sands for the closer so it does not cost that much to lose Hanrahan other than his $7:04 million salary after Boston traded for him over the offseason.
Hanrahan struggled with keeping the ball in the park, allowing four home runs in 7.1 innings. He blew two of his six save opportunities and had an ERA of 9.82.
With 75 percent of the season left, the Red Sox will turn to Andrew Bailey once he comes off the DL and Junichi Tazawa to get the job done.
Jon Lester Can Still Get It Done.
Jon Lester is ace 1A on the Red Sox.
He has compiled a 5-0 record with a 2.73 ERA in eight starts. Lester is coming off a one-hit complete-game shutout against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night while striking out five batters and not allowing a walk.
The left-hander has shown his resiliency with his start to the 2013 season and should provide a solid pitching record the rest of the way barring any injuries or setbacks.
Will Middlebrooks Has Some Pop
With a three-homer game back in the first week of the season, Will Middlebrooks has opened the eyes of MLB scouts.
That has been so much the case that teams are now pitching him away almost every at-bat, as his .206 average can attest.
Middlebrooks is only 24 years old and still needs time to adjust to major league pitching. His six home runs through the first six weeks is still pretty good seeing as he has struggled at the plate most of the year.
Be prepared to see the slumping third baseman break out over the next few weeks in the power department and lead the Sox back into first place in the summer months.
David Ortiz Still Has It
David Ortiz may be 1-for-17 in his last four games, but he still boasts a .333 average with four homers and 17 RBI in 19 games.
Ortiz has struggled lately since speculation arose over rumors of his steroid use this season and the distraction may be affecting his play on the field.
Don't expect Ortiz to struggle too much longer with some easy pitching on this 10-day road trip, except of course the Tampa Bay Rays.
Clay Buchholz Is in Cy Young Contention
Clay Buchholz has been one of the best pitchers in MLB with a 6-0 record and a 1.69 ERA through his first eight starts.
He has 60 strikeouts in 58.2 innings and has pitched deep into games in each start, allowing more than two earned runs only once.
With the latest accusations of Buchholz using foreign substance to doctor the baseball on the mound, he has struggled, but still has been a key cog in the rotation.
Jacoby Ellsbury May Not Be Too Expensive in the Offseason
Jacoby Ellsbury may have some clutch hits this season, but he has struggled with a .257 average in 38 games. He has lacked power and has only one homer in 167 at-bats.
The one thing that will make suitors want to spend money on Ellsbury is his speed.
The center fielder leads the league with four triples and 12 stolen bases while he can run down most balls hit his way in the outfield.
Mike Carp Is Great off the Bench
Mike Carp leads Boston's 25-man roster with a .351 average in only 37 at-bats. He has two home runs, two triples and five doubles and has shown his power to all fields during that time.
Carp won't get too much playing time unless a key player gets hurt, but he has shown that he can thrive with the bench role that the Red Sox are giving him this season.
Ryan Dempster Is a Great Third Starter
Even though he gave up six runs to the Blue Jays on Sunday, Ryan Dempster still has what it takes to pitch in the AL East.
He had an ERA under 3.00 entering Sunday's start and it is still pretty solid at 3.75.
Dempster has pitched better than his 2-4 record indicates and should be a great cornerstone that Boston's pitching staff can rely on.
He even warmed up during an extra-innings game against the Minnesota Twins just in case they needed him even though he was starting the next day.
Allen Webster Is Not Quite Ready for the Majors
Allen Webster had a pretty easy first start against the Kansas City Royals in mid-April with six innings of two-run ball.
Webster got called up to start Wednesday night against the Minnesota Twins, but was shelled after the first out, allowing wight runs on six hits in 1.2 innings. He left all of his pitches up in the zone and needs to work on his mechanics a little more before he is ready for the major leagues.
John Lackey May Be Back
John Lackey may have missed most of the first month with a DL stint, but he still has looked great in all four of his starts.
Lackey has dealt with a lack of run support with a 1-3 record and a 2.84 ERA to his credit. He has only allowed three homers in 22.1 innings pitched. He has struck out 24 batters compared to seven walks.
If he can keep this up the rest of the season, the bottom of the Red Sox' rotation will look solid and help Boston secure a playoff spot.