Sunday, May 3, 2015

April Showers Bring Red Sox Updates

Yesterday was quite the sports-filled Saturday—it was the perfect storm of sports, if you will, with just about every single professional sport active in some way. A virtual buffet of sporting events to choose from on the boob tube, it made my head spin—from MLB action to the NFL Draft, NBA and NHL playoffs, WGC-Cadillac Match Play, the Kentucky Derby and, of course, the over-priced boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Spoiler alert: Mayweather and American Pharoah were winners!

But I'm not going to talk about any of those contests. I'm not even going to talk about the Red Sox series against the Yankees (and if you're a Sox fan, you know why!) I feel the need to recap the first month of the Red Sox season. Yeah... I know it's only April, but no matter how newborn the season may be, it's still important to have some success in these early days so as not to fall too far behind. Playing catch up is hard.

There are so many new faces on this Boston team, I still don't really know everyone—especially the pitchers (take away my fan card if you must.) I'm getting there, but I'm not going to lie, I need a cheat sheet. With new faces come new growing pains while these players get accustomed to Fenway Park and the big Boston stage. And as with every year, some will flourish, and some will flounder.

Let's take a gander at some of what's been happening with our beloved BoSox in the early days of the 2015 season:

The GOOD...

  • Brock Holt "The Brock Star" is such a blast to watch. He only appeared in 14 games in April, but he hit .386. 
  • Newcomer Pablo Sandoval has been a consistent bat. In 20 games, he has 24 hits, 12 runs scored and 11 RBI with a respectable .312 average.
  • Welcome back to Boston, Hanley Ramirez! Hanley smashed 10 homers and drove in 22 in the month of April, tying him for the major league lead in both categories. If that stupid hairdo has anything to do with the home runs, keep it... even if it does make your helmet fall off every...damn...time.
  • It appears that the Dustin Pedroia of pre-2014 is back. His average is just a few ticks under .300 and he has four home runs—so he's definitely on pace to beat his 2014 total of seven.
  • Relievers Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa seem to be the only real bright spots in the bullpen, both posting ERAs of 1.38 and 1.69 respectively.

The BAD...

  • Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Justin Masterson and Joe Kelly. This team is so blatantly missing an ace—it makes me feel a little stabby. Kelly is the only starter to have a sub-5.00 ERA and even then, just barely. 
  • Big Papi's .236 average is disappointing. Even though he's notoriously bad in April, I still think he needs to spend less time on his hairstyle and beard grooming and more time in the batting cages.
  • After destroying the ball in spring training with a .429 average, Mookie Betts has gotten off to a slow start, batting only .230 in April. Maybe he has Big Papi's disease.
  • Pablo Sandoval isn't going to win any Gold Gloves at third base with three errors this past month.

The UGLY...

  • Wade Miley. Need I say more? This guy pitches like a champ one start and then gives up a hundred runs in his next. His ERA in April was 8.62 and in four starts, he only pitched 15.2 innings. I'll save you from having to do the math... that's not even four innings per start. Geez...
  • The pitching staff as a whole. They are currently LAST in the major leagues in ERA. That's slightly embarrassing.
  • Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava. Batting .162 and .154 respectively with a combined one home run and 10 RBIs. 
  • Shane Victorino is injured again so I won't piss on his stats too much. Even though in 12 starts, he IS hitting only .143. Come on.

So overall April was just meh. The Red Sox went 12-10 while scoring the most runs (119) in the majors which speaks volumes for how bad their pitching is (113 earned runs allowed, also leads majors!) That's a lot of close, high scoring games! They really have some work to do—I'm giving you the side eye, pitching staff—if they're going to make my World Series prediction come true. I don't like to be wrong.