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The only thing worse in the course of the regular season for the Boston Red Sox, than getting swept at home by the New York Yankees, is… wait there is nothing worse. Losing your best hitter with s sprained shoulder in the opening game of the next series was just the icing on the cake, or maybe salt in the wound. I’m not sure, but given that we fans were promised a contender this year, and not a “pretender”, than you can understand why there is growing unhappiness here, mixed with just a touch of panic,  over this last place team. Which, therefore, begs the question, “What can be done about it?”

 

Problem Solving 101:

 

The usual approach to problem solving in the real world usually involves identifying the problem and then taking steps to correct it. Last week I wrote about some of what was going right, or more specifically, those players who were holding up their end of things. To take a too long a look at what’s going wrong now would be repetitive and time consuming. Let’s just say that starting pitching and offense has been, to say the least, inconsistent. When your number one starter- Clay Buchholz– is 1-4, and can’t get out of the first inning without giving up a least two runs, you are in trouble. Let’s face it, when you have five major contributors to your offense- namely Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Daniel Nava, Allen Craig, and rookie catcher Blake Swihart–  all hitting well below .200,  then you can’t expect to win too many games.  (Actually, the fact that Swihart, their third catcher of the season, is even on the major league roster is not a good sign either.)  So again, where do you look for help?

 

Looking Within:

 

It’s probably too early in the season to look to other teams for players of any real quality. Although there are a few other teams out there who have under performed as well, such as Oakland and Milwaukee , it seems a little soon to start unloading payroll. I suppose there is Philadelphia for pitching help, but the oft mentioned 34 year old Cole Hamels has had struggles of his own (1-3, 4.14 ERA as of May 5) so although he may still be an upgrade, I would hate to give up too much for him now. So you look at Pawtucket. It’s been assumed all along that the fireballing lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, who the Sox got from the O’s for Andrew Miller, would make it to Boston eventually this year and this seems like a good time. Another AAA pitcher, Brian Johnson, who currently stands 3-2, has also been mentioned as someone who deserves a shot at the big leagues at this point. These call ups would require some moves, like moving Justin Masterson and Joe Kelly to the bullpen. The Masterson move is one that I’ve been for from the beginning, the Kelly one is something new, but according to the Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, one that’s been discussed for him since his days with St. Louis- may have something to do with his 97 mph fastball.

 

So what about the offense? Not so sure  there’s much help in farms for that. I have to believe that if Rusney Castillo hadn’t injured himself yet again, that he’d be up by now. He recently got off the DL and is starting to hit, so it may not be long before the 27 year old gets his shot at the right field job. Would the Sox consider bringing up Jackie Bradley for another shot? He is hitting .341, and is still a very good defender, but unless Hanley Ramirez is out for an extended period, it seems unlikely.

 

STAYED TUNED:

 

I know I like to end these pieces by urging you to stay tuned to see what will happen next, but if we don’t start seeing more performances like the recent ones by Rick Porcello and Mookie Betts, I don’t think anyone will be watching. Granted, there is still a great deal of season left, but Sox Nation is growing concerned that we’ve been down more over the past four years  than we’ve been up, so patience may be at a premium. Let’s hope they don’t waste it.

 

Jerry Ballgame

About Jerry Ballgame

The personification of "old school", Jerry Ballgame was born in the shadow of Dr. Naismith's peach basket, and baptized in that "Dirty Water." Designated by his "Uncle" Ted, to keep an eye on things, he's here to tell everyone what his view is like from the Hub of the Universe.

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