A Red Sox April to Forget: 2010
- Updated: May 14, 2010
Their Record: Broken Down
1-Run Games: 6-4
2-Run Games: 3-4
3-Run Games: 1-2
4+Run Games: 1-3
The injuries to outfielders Jacoby “The Human Spark Plug” Ellsbury (see post about his Charity Wine, Zinfindellsbury) and Mike Cameron have hurt both defensively and offensively despite the fill-in work of McDonald and Hermida (later on them). Ellsbury was found to have 4 cracked ribs after an April 11th collision with 3B Adrian Beltre, while Cameron passed a gall stone and had other stomache problems which sidelined him at almost the same time. As of this writing (5/14), Cameron looks to be due back next week with Ellsbury possibly a week or so behind him depending on how quickly he gets his swing back after a month layoff!
On paper it looked to be the best in all of baseball, but it was missing Dice-K right out of the gate and the big three have struggled putting added pressure on the bullpen! Lackey has looked the best going 2-1, but got shelled in that one loss in Tampa Bay where he couldn’t get out of the fourth inning. Beckett has been the worst going 0-1 while giving up the following earned runs per game 5-3-0 (a no decision) -7-8 with 20 Ks in 28.2 innings, 13 BBs and 37 hits. Lester looked bad in his first three starts going only 16 innings while walking three batters per game (9) and giving up 21 hits to 14 Ks and 15 earned runs. However, since then he has looked great going 1-0 (with a no-decision) for the remainder of the month (and 3-0 in three starts so far in May) in 12.2 innings with 18 Ks, 6 BBs, 5 hits and no earned runs allowed.
The bullpen looked inconsistent at best, but some of that has to be attributed to the fact that they were overused due to the lack in quality starts from the rotation. At times it has looked like the strength of the team and at other times like it was falling apart at the seams. Daniel Bard has let some inherited runners score, but his strikeout rate is encouraging. Delcarmen has shown glimpses of why he’s still a member of this Red Sox team and his velocity has improved. Okajima has looked more like he did in Japan (mediocre) than he has as a member of the Red Sox. And in my opinion, Showenweis has gone above and beyond what should be expected of him at this point in his career and I hope he stays if and when they bring up Bosner. As the rotation gets better as the weather improves, that should breathe new life into this bullpen.
This, along with pitching is what Theo tells us is going to propel the 2010 Red Sox and equals run prevention. But 3B and glorified (in almost every corner of baseball) gold glover, Adrian Beltre has been anything but a gold glove caliber 3B with 5 or 6 errors in the first month of the season. This is almost half his errors from a year ago (14). New stop gap SS Marco Scutaro has also not played as he was billed between second and third, but is showing some signs of improvement as of this writing (in May). Maybe he just needed to readjust? But maybe the most glaring knock on the Red Sox defense has been Victor Martinez’s inability to control the running game of the opposing teams who seem to be running at will against him. He has been working out with acclaimed catcher’s coach (and Red Sox bullpen coach) Gary Tuck to correct his footwork and delivery on his throws to 2B. Apparently he has formed some bad habits while with the Indians! They there’s the OF of Jeremy Hermida, Bill Hall, Darnell McDonald and VanEvery (along with J.D. Drew in RF) doing their best to fill-in for gold glove CF Mike Camerson and LF Jacoby Ellsbury…a daunting task to say the least! To their credit, they have done a decent job, but it is inferior to those to injured players.
David Ortiz is off to another scary start to the season and one can only hope that this time he can come out of it sooner or else he may no longer see himself in a Boston uniform. Once again he is late on low to mid 90’s fastballs, the type that he use to drive to all parts of the field and he is once again hitting under .200 for the month of April. Likewise, J.D. Drew is also looking older than his years and is also hitting under the Mendoza line. Although, at the time of this writing, as is his usual streaky self, he is hitting well over .400 so far in May and is showing signs of life once again. Hopefully he won’t have another month as bad as April the rest of the way, but he will almost surely continue to be a streaky hitter throughout the season having ups and downs the whole way. Victor Martinez is not looking like the typical .300+ hitter that fans are used to seeing and you have to wonder if his defensive battle if affecting him with a bat in his hands, too. Also, you can’t make me believe that the Red Sox do not miss the loss of “The Human Spark Plug” Jacoby Ellsbury at the leadoff spot either!
The Red Sox are not as bad as they have shown in the month of April. The rotation is already showing signs of life once again and Dice-K is back with Wakefield as a 6th man ready, willing and able when needed! That, like I have already said, will improve the bullpen. Scuatro is showing signs of getting into a grove and Beltre can only get better (one would hope). On top of that, mid to late May should see the return of 2/3 of the OF which should help the BABIP of the pitching staff, too. And the supposedly weaker 2010 offense is also showing signs of life with Drew & Ortiz bringing their averages above .200 (as of this writing) while hitting over .400 and .300 respectively in May so far. I also think that Martinez’s woes behind the plate are affective him at the plate so when he gets straightened out back there it should translate into him improving at the plate as well! Add to that, having the teams leadoff man (and spark plug) in Ellsbury back in front of it and that should be enough of a distraction to opposing pitchers to allow them to make mistakes to the guys hitting with him on the bases (Pedroia, Martinez, Youkilis, etc.) allowing them to see better pitches to drive!
They will cut into the lead the Rays and Yankees had over them at the end of April to be within striking distance again come the All Star break (barring any more injuries)!