What a confusing team the Red Sox are this year. They are having a serious identity crisis. They are swept in three games by the Major League’s worst team in Baltimore, then they sweep the always-dangerous Angels. They are absolutely clobbered for two games by the Yankees, then destroy them in game 3. Is this a .500 team? Is this a championship-calibre team? Who are the 2010 Boston Red Sox?
It must be difficult to be a writer for as big a market as the Boston Globe, or the Herald. Thousands of readers scrutinize your work on a daily basis. Every prediction you make, every time you pick a side of the fence, the hosts of readers hold you to your every word. This year’s edition of the Olde Towne Team must be extremely frustrating for such media outlets. Afterall, the sportswriter’s job on a fundamental level is to simply give the reader an idea of what kind of team the subject is. But with the Red Sox, this is a daunting task. It seems THEY don’t even know who they are.
Going into this season, the mantra was “run prevention”. The new philosophy pitched by Theo praised the virtues of good pitching, UZR, and just keeping runs off the board. Gone were the days of slow, lumbering, powerful sluggers, replaced by speed and good baseball fundamentals. These Red Sox would steal bases, win games with final scores of 1-0 and 3-2. Total scores you could count on one hand. The starting rotation would be the best in the American League, perhaps even baseball. We had three legitimate aces and the four and five were number two’s or three’s anywhere else. Theo had even acquired Adrian Beltre, the best defensive third baseman in all of baseball. Sure he couldn’t hit as well as Lowell, but his glove was the best in the game!
So why, then, do the boys of the 2010 summer look nothing like the boys of the 2010 winter? What happened between February and now?
The Boston Red Sox are third in the league and fifth in the majors in runs scored. They are tied for second in the most homeruns hit in baseball. They are second only to the Yankees in team OPS. But their team ERA of 5.04 is 10th in the league, 25th in the Majors. Adrian Beltre, the best defensive third baseman in baseball, leads the league in errors. Dustin Pedroia, the sparkplug of the offense, leads the team in home runs and RBIs. Josh Beckett, the ace of the staff, has a 7.46 ERA. JD Drew is tied for second in games played.
What is going on here? None of this makes any sense! Who are these guys?
Last week, just after they swept the Jays, I wrote that the Red Sox would show their true colors by the time the Yankees left Boston. I was wrong. One day they look like are capable of taking the World Series, the next day they look like they won’t be capable of taking third place. Glad I don’t write for the Globe or the Herald, I wouldn’t be able to handle all the hate mail.
This trend won’t continue forever, I don’t think anyway. I mean, it can’t. Right? At some point, their true colors will show. David Ortiz is nightly inching closer to a return to Big Papidom, now if only he can get over the Mendoza line. Varitek claims that Beckett is on the verge of a break through. JD Drew has been swinging the bat like a madman. The Red Sox are slowly beginning to walk out of the fog. The outline of a figure has begun to appear.
Who are the 2010 Boston Red Sox? Only time will tell.