2011 Boston Red Sox: 6 Biggest Surprises This Season
As we have reached the midseason All-Star break and the second half of the MLB season lies ahead, we can now look back and reflect on the first half of this Red Sox 2011 season.
This year’s Boston Red Sox club brought fans and media many surprises both good and bad. Here is a list of five big surprises this club has both enjoyed and suffered during the first half of the 2011 MLB season.
Season Starts 0-6
With the acquisitions of slugger Adrian Gonzalez and defensive playmaker / base stealing wiz, Carl Crawford, this Boston Red Sox club was anticipated to be the best team in Baseball.
Speculation from multiple media outlets, both in Boston and throughout the nation, discussed a 100+ win season as not just a possibility but almost to be a likely outcome.
Alas, these great expectations were almost out the window thanks to a 0-6 start.
The Red Sox struggled in the batter’s box with a combined team batting average of .181, as well as a .159 average with runners in scoring position.
Josh Beckett Bounces Back
During the 2009 season, Josh Beckett suffered back problems and inconsistency on the bump. He was the worst on the Red Sox regular rotation.
Of course you cannot blame the 89-73 record the Red Sox finished with last season on the righty, but when your two-time World Series champion pitcher finishes the season 6-6 and with a 5.78 ERA, it's a season everyone wants to put in the past.
The 2011 season has proved to be a different story for Beckett.
He is back to his regular position as the ace pitcher in the Red Sox rotation, throwing an impressive 2.27 ERA as well as going 8-3 in 17 starts up to the All-Star break.
Beckett will continue to lead the pitching rotation and the whole club as they have revamped and lived up to their preseason hype.
Carl Crawford Disappoints
So far Carl Crawford has been a disappointment and some would say unworthy of his almost $15 million salary for this season.
The 2010 Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards winner batted a .155 average in the month of April followed by an uplifting .304 May.
For the season thus far, he is batting a .243 average with six home runs and 31 RBIs. At this point last season he was averaging .310.
With a lower batting average comes fewer chances on the baselines, as Crawford has had 20 fewer stolen bases than he had at this point in the 2010 season.
Though Carl Crawford did not start out as hot as Boston baseball fans were hoping, he will come out of his slump and be the player he has been expected to be.
The 2010 season did not sit well with Jacoby Ellsbury who, among the many others in the Boston Red Sox ballclub, was plagued with injury and only saw 78 at-bats with a .192 average.
These injuries saw him to Arizona specialists and even had a few people calling him a whiner.
The reason he was upsetting so many folks was because he wasn't a presence in the clubhouse as some of the other injured players were, such as Dustin Pedroia.
Well, his time away from the team seemed to be the best thing as he is now averaging .314 at the plate and 28 stolen bases.
Looking at Jacoby Ellsbury's progression as a professional baseball player in his career, this season was expected to come.
That is why this is the least surprising of the items on this list.
He was anticipated to be playing at this level, but a major speed bump like last year was for him can set a player back pretty far. Ellsbury overcame that speed bump.
What can I say? He's awful. He blows a game, everybody criticizes him, and then he comes out and gets a win.
Lackey is six and eight in 14 games with a 6.84 ERA... And he's getting paid almost $16 million this year.
Some athletes have bad seasons, but this is hard to watch.
Turning on a game when Lackey is pitching is now like turning on a game when Dice-K was pitching.
You never know what to expect. Seven earned runs on seven outs? Or shut out? Who knows, but more likely than not you will be disappointed this year when Lackey takes the mound.
John Lackey's 2010 season was perfectly fine; I think too much was expected of him. A 14-11 record is fine by me when you lost as much run support as he did because of the injury plagued clubhouse.
This year has just been downright brutal.
Lackey was expected to return this season and be the pitcher Theo Epstein was paying for. Who knows what it might take for Lackey to be the pitcher he was in Anaheim. Tommy-John? If that's what it takes.
He may be detrimental to the club now, but he better improve because he's under contract for 3 1/2 more years.
David Ortiz did not come out of the huge slump, he played fine ball last year. But this season he blew up.
Ortiz is responsible for 53 RBI as well as 19 home runs and a .304 batting average.
As everyone is aware, he is captain of the American League’s home run derby squad.
Ortiz is not slowing down and pitchers around the league are terrified of him, especially those like Baltimore's Kevin Gregg.