I don't begin to write this without some reservation. The overreaction, the headlines, the noise and chatter, it's all a bit much. If you can't guess, I'm referring to the outcry from Boston Red Sox fans just 9-days into the month of April and the 2011 baseball season all together.
For starters, we're talking about an eight to nine game stretch over a 162 game season. We're talking about possibly nine games, six against offenses that rank amongst the top five power lineups in the game. We're talking about exactly one eighteenth of the season. Calm down. No, 1-7 isn't great and being outscored 53-29 is awful, but it's not even April 10th.
I too believe the Red Sox can compete for a World Series Championship this season, honestly I do. However, let's put some things into perspective here:
1. Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is a 26-year old kid entering his first season as a legitimate every day starting catcher, catching in a hornets nest in Boston. He's actually replacing a legend in Varitek and or a power hitting catcher in Victor Martinez from a season ago. So yes, it might take him a month or two of weekend series' in front of packed houses to get used to the atmosphere. This isn't Triple 'A' Iowa City!
2. To "piggy-back" on that, starters Josh Beckett, John Lackey, and Daisuke Matsuzaka are trying to have bounce back seasons with a new pitching coach and a new catcher. What'd you think they were going to come out throwing darts and notching 20-strikeout games? They'll be some bumps in the road jugheads!
3. There is a reason why All-Star Kevin Youkilis has taken a few days to really get going, which he still hasn't. In the midst of a fantastic 2010 season, Youk was sidelined with thumb surgery, from which he is coming back. So yes, it might take this guy some time to get started. Do you really think that both he and Pedroia are going to return from injury flawlessly?
4. Plugging in All-Stars Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez hasn't been all that bad, but again, they're playing in a real market for
the first times in their career. Tampa & San Diego aren't exactly the baseball hot beds that New England is. Furthermore, isn't Gonzalez recovering from injury? Come on guys, you didn't expect them to win 130, did you?
5. Then there's my boy Daniel Bard. You don't think this kid, a kid who clearly has closer stuff, sees Bobby Jenks & Papelbon in the bullpen? He had a rough couple outings in Texas & Cleveland, but the boy looked real good against New York yesterday. So give him a break would you?
But what does all this mean? What does me justifying the Red Sox start actually mean? I'll tell you, it means you need to relax, watch The Masters, open a book, and tune in on Marathon Monday and reevaluate, at the earliest.
Or check out Season 3: The RightNow Podcast!
Get After It!