If you're a Red Sox fan, you're worried.
Don't deny it.
Even those of us with unshakable faith in the organization can't ignore the club's weaknesses. Players we had hoped would be solutions have so far been problems. And while some, like Carl Crawford, are turning things around, others have not yet shown signs of life.
In particular, the bullpen is in trouble. The Sox addressed the aftermath of last year's relief struggles by making sweeping changes. Manny Delcarmen and Ramon Ramirez are gone, Matt Albers, Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler were brought in.
But both Jenks and Wheeler have been major liabilities in the early going. The duo has combined for a 10.42 ERA and 2.16 WHIP in 19 innings pitched. Hideki Okajima has been shaky since getting called up from Pawtucket. And it appears that Tim Wakefield is now unable to be the rubber-armed long reliever the club had planned for, needed instead in the rotation.
Starting pitching is another issue for the team. Daisuke Matsuzaka has swung between being unhittable and rock-bottom awful. And his recent elbow stiffness bears watching. Clay Buchholz's velocity and command are suffering badly, although he has shown recent signs of getting his fastball back into the mid-90s. Overall, the back end of the rotation is at best unpredictable, and at worst unreliable.
These woes could change as the weather warms up, players settle in, and the team shakes off an absurdly poor April. But even if they do, most fans agree that some moves will be required at or before the trading deadline in order for Boston to get back to the postseason.
Yet much of the trade talk that has swirled around the team simply does not make sense. It's time to separate fact from fiction.