What the hell is going on in Boston?
You come into the 2009 season as one of the favorites to reach the World Series, and you’re playing like you’re ticket to the post-season is already punched just because you’re the Boston Red Sox?
New York is a circus, and the Yankees are even throwing Nick Swisher out on the mound, yet if you haven’t noticed, the Yankees have a better record than the Red Sox thus far.
In fact, the entire AL East has a better record. The Red Sox find themselves 3-6 after their first nine games, good for dead last in a division that so many considered Boston a favorite to win.
Talk about a team without heart, and a team without an identity.
I realize it’s early in the season and the Red Sox have had one of the tougher schedules thus far. I’m also aware that they generally struggle on west coast swings, but 3-6?
Let’s look at some of the statistics after the first nine games:
Jacoby Ellsbury, the lead-off hitter, is hitting .194 with an on-base percentage of .256.
David Ortiz, the feared slugger, is batting .176 with zero home runs and eight strikeouts.
Dustin Pedroia, the reigning AL MVP, is hitting .179.
The only hitters with batting averages above .300 are Jason Bay and Kevin Youkilis.
This is an offense that, aside from Manny Ramirez, hasn’t changed since last year when they were one of the most productive offenses in the league.
So, what happened?
It doesn’t stop with the offense, as the pitching staff has also struggled in the first week and a half of the season.
Jon Lester had a break-out year in 2008, with 16 wins and an ERA just over 3.00. This year has been slightly different, and Lester is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in two starts.
Daisuke Matsuzaka was great not only last season, but he was also named this years’ World Baseball Classic MVP for the second consecutive year. However, the MLB regular season has been another story.
Daisuke is 0-1 with a 12.79 ERA in his two starts. He left his last start after giving up five runs in one inning of work against the Oakland A’s. Now he finds himself on the disabled list with arm fatigue two weeks into the season.
Arm fatigue after two starts? Really?
Speaking of injuries, Julio Lugo and Jed Lowrie are on the disabled list, too, leaving Nick Green as the starting shortstop.
Nick Green? Ever heard of him? Yeah, me neither.
For some reason, all of major league baseball seems to focus on the Yankees and their struggles this season, and rightfully so, given their offseason activities, but how can we ignore what’s going on in Beantown?
The Red Sox are 12th in the AL in batting average and 10th in on-base percentage. The Sox have a 5.02 ERA (10th in the AL) and have walked 37 hitters through nine games (also 10th in the AL).
This is a team without an identity.
Manny Ramirez left and now this team seems to lack a personality.
Is Manny’s departure the reason for the Red Sox’s struggles in 2009?
Not entirely, but it has got to have something to do with it.