I think it’s more than a little obvious that the Red Sox 2015 season has started out with much less consistency then was desirable. As I write this, they stand 11-10, tied for second place with Tampa Bay, of all teams, two games behind New York. One thing I have learned from all my years of watching baseball is that you have to be careful in regards to how much weight you put on the events of spring training and the games of April, so rather than get on the roller coaster that may well turn out to be their season, I will instead take a look at some of the more positive aspects of their performance to date.
Brock Holt continues his role as the Red Sox supreme utility player through the early part of 2015. Having played everywhere expect pitcher or catcher–and probably not first base as they have that pretty well covered–he has proved to be a tough man to leave out of the lineup. In the 13 games he has appeared in through this writing, he is batting .381, with a home run, 8 RBIs, and an OPS .958. This is a nice continuation of his contributions of 2014, when in 106 games he hit .281, with 4 HRs, 29 RBIs, and 68 runs scored. Holt was, for much of the season, their best lead off hitter, as they attempted to fill the void left by the departure of Jacoby Ellsbury. Although he cost the Sox a run in a recent loss to Toronto when his throw from right field to the plate missed the cutoff man, he has played the field well, having not been, as yet, charged with an error.
Because the starting pitching has struggled, the bullpen has been badly over used, and has not always responded well. Three who have are lefty Craig Breslow, as well as right-handers Alexi Ogando and Junichi Tazawa. Breslow, who was a major contributor to their championship season but struggled last year, has a 1.38 era, in 9 appearances holding the opposition to a .200 batting average, in 13.3 innings pitched.The 31 year old Ogando, who came to Boston after five years in Texas, has held opponents to a .152 BA, in 9 appearances, with a 2.89 era, in 9.1 innings. The 28 year old Tazawa is picking up from where he left off last year, when he appeared in 71 games, as he has been in 10 games so far, with a 1.86 era, also holding the opposition to a .200 BA, in 9.2 innings. Hopefully the Sox starters will start carrying more of the load soon, as Tazawa became considerably less effective in the latter stages of the season, a direct result from being over used by manager John Farrell.
THE NEW GUYS:
Although he is still struggling somewhat in the field, Hanley Ramirez has looked good at the plate. In 20 games, he has been hitting at a .295 clip, with 9 HRs, and 20 RBIs, (either first or second in the league in those categories) with an OPS of .986. All reports so far seem to indicate that he has been a positive influence in the clubhouse, so as long has he can stay healthy, he seems headed towards the the type of production the Sox need from him. Pablo Sandoval has started to become the offense force that Boston was hoping for, has he recently collected a pair of round trippers to go with the 11 RBIs he has in his first 19 appearance in a Red Sox uniform. “The Panda” is currently hitting ,311, with an OPS of .882.
I think that it’s safe to assume that at some point all the factors of their offense, especially David Ortiz and Mike Napoli, will start to kick in. I also think it’s safe to believe that Mookie Betts is the real thing and will only get better, more consistent, as the year goes on. Combine that with longer, more consistent (there’s that word again) efforts from the starters, then we’ll all be able to get off the roller coaster, and enjoy the ride to the division title. But as for now, all we can do is stay tuned…
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- The “Nice Ring To It” Edition - February 3, 2017
- The “Shaken, Not Stirred” Edition - January 17, 2017
- The “Malcolms in the Middle” Edition - January 11, 2017
- A “Catching Up, Following Up, and Weighing In” Edition - December 31, 2016
- The “Cannon and Flowers” Edition - December 21, 2016
- The “Farm, for Sale” Edition - December 10, 2016
- The “Tebucky Jones Tribute” Edition - November 13, 2016
- The “World, Serious” Edition - November 1, 2016
- The “Easy Come, Easy Go” Edition - October 18, 2016