It’s early, we know. The MLB season just started. Many hopeful, big-name contenders are off to a rough start. Look at the Yankees, the Cubs. But should fans be worried about the current national champs too? Are the Boston Red Sox in trouble? Is the World Series hangover a real thing? Or is it too soon to tell? Here’s a look at Boston’s season and struggles so far…
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Many sports gurus and fans were calling for a repeat of last year’s World Series victory by the almighty Boston Red Sox. Now those same folks are starting to get a little bit uneasy. It’s not like they were expecting a do-over of last season’s impressive 108 wins or anything, but they definitely weren’t expecting to start out this season 3-9. It’s Boston’s worst start in eight years. The Sox are currently in last place in the AL East, just behind the lowly Toronto Blue Jays.
The bad started early…
Boston began the season in disappointing fashion by losing on Opening Day at Fenway right after the presentation of their World Series rings and banner unfurling. Bummer. Then they followed it up with a relatively disastrous trip to the West Coast. To be fair, it was a pretty grueling opening schedule – 11 games in 11 days is tough on any team, particularly on the road. And well, supposedly pitcher Chris Sale was sick.
The Seattle Mariners, Oakland A’s, and Arizona Diamondbacks all handed Boston an L in their first series of the season. Woof. It took last year’s Red Sox team until May to lose three series. Now the Sox are six games behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East. So is it time for panic mode yet?
What is going on with Sale?
On Tuesday, the Red Sox returned home to try to redeem themselves, but after an early 2-0 lead, things went downhill quickly. Chris Sale was forced out of the game after the fourth inning after the Jays’ Lourdes Gurriel stole home. Yeah, that hurts. The Sox were booed when they came off the field. Sale has had a hard time hitting top speeds with his fastball, leaving many to question his recent $145 million contract extension. Manager Alex Cora insists Sale wasn’t hurt, just under the weather. But the left-hander, now 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA, admitted that he’s never felt this lost on the mound.
It’s not just Sale though. In their first 11 games, Red Sox pitchers have given up the most runs of any team in the league so far this season – 72! And of those, 23 were home runs! Their starting pitchers are getting pummeled, causing the team to fall behind early on in these games. So far, they’ve been unable to dig their way out. Relief pitchers from the bullpen like Brandon Workman and Matt Barnes have been their only saving grace.
As for batting, Boston has been nothing to write home about. Mookie Betts, JD Martinez, and Mitch Moreland have produced 10 of the team’s 13 home runs. Moreland in particular has been the most clutch, with two of his big hits single-handedly winning Boston’s games against the Mariners and Diamondbacks. He came to their rescue yet again in their game against the Blue Jays last Thursday.
Another silver lining? Dustin Pedroia has been activated after spending significant time on the injured list. He returned to the lineup batting seventh and heading out to his post on second base against the Blue Jays, getting one hit out of four at-bats. Knee surgery caused Pedroia to miss all but three games last season. He’s excited to be back.
Despite these early struggles, Cora is still charging forward with a positive attitude. The Orioles came to Boston over the weekend for a four-game series that wraps up today. After that, they’ll take on the Yankees (who are off to a slow start of their own). Let’s see if the Red Sox can appease fans and turn things around!
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