Blog Entry

The Red Sox aren't in trouble, unless . . .

Posted on: April 9, 2011 6:05 pm
Edited on: April 9, 2011 6:09 pm
BOSTON -- The Red Sox scoff at the idea that they're already in trouble.

"Dire?" Kevin Youkilis said incredulously, after Saturday's 9-4 loss to the Yankees dropped the Sox to a major-league worst 1-7. "I don't think it's dire."

"Tough situation?" Adrian Gonzalez said, just as incredulously. "We're eight games in. It's not a tough situation. It's so early in the season. We're going to recover just fine."

He's right. They're right.

Seven losses in eight games is bad, and not just at the start of a season (it's only the second time in Terry Francona's Red Sox tenure that the Sox have lost seven of eight).

But the Red Sox aren't in trouble . . . unless Clay Buchholz is going to pitch all year the way he pitched Saturday against the Yankees.

The Red Sox aren't in trouble . . . unless Buchholz is going to be as useless to them as Phil Hughes already seems to be to the Yankees.

That doesn't seem possible. Unlike with Hughes, Buchholz hasn't seen his velocity mysteriously vanish. He didn't make it out of the fourth inning Saturday, but he was throwing 94 mph.

"He had plenty of stuff," said one scout who watched. "He just isn't pitching with his fastball."

Buchholz gave up four home runs in his first start against the Rangers, and he allowed a three-run home run to Russell Martin on Saturday. A year after going 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA, he's 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA.

"Good mistake-hitting teams are going to hit your mistakes, and that's basically what's going on right now," Buchholz said. "They're hitting pitches they should be hitting."

A year after going 18-8 with a 4.19 ERA, Hughes is 0-1 with a 16.50 ERA.

No, Buchholz isn't Hughes, but the comparison is still important.

First, if the Red Sox are going to lose the American League East, the Yankees almost have to be the team that beats them.

Second, if you look at the two rotations, you see similarities. Like the Yankees, the Red Sox have a dependable ace (Jon Lester plays the part of CC Sabathia). Like the Yankees, they have huge questions at the back of the rotation (with Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka playing the parts of A.J. Burnett, Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia).

And like the Yankees, the Red Sox figure to hit their way to some wins on days when their pitching is bad (as they did in Friday's home opener). The Red Sox hitters are off to a slow start (a .215 team average, with Youkilis at .125 and Carl Crawford at .152), but that looks more like an early slump than a sign of bigger problems.

We all knew before the season that terrible starting pitching could sink the Yankees. Sure enough, the Yankee rotation has a 5.80 ERA through eight games, which is why they're 5-3 while averaging six runs a game.

Eight games in, the Red Sox rotation has been even worse, with a 7.46 ERA that is baseball's worst.

"We've got to pitch better," Dustin Pedroia said. "We gave up a lot of runs [Saturday]. It's hard to score 10."

It's hard for a Red Sox team this talented to lose seven times in eight games (staring at eight of nine if Beckett can't beat Sabathia on Sunday night). Since Francona took over in 2004, the only other time the Red Sox lost seven of eight was in that awful August of 2006, in the week that included the five-game Yankee sweep at Fenway Park.

That sweep dropped the Red Sox to 6 1/2 games out of first place, with just 38 games to play. Even a loss to the Yankees Sunday night would leave the Sox just five games back of the Yankees, with basically a whole season left to play.

"I think we feel like we're going to have a good team," Francona said. "Sometimes when you don't want to be patient, you have to."

Be patient. The Red Sox aren't in trouble . . . as long as Clay Buchholz is going to pitch a whole lot better than he pitched Saturday.


Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 14, 2012 3:16 pm

The Red Sox aren't in trouble, unless . . .

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 30, 2011 7:07 pm

The Red Sox aren't in trouble, unless . . .

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Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 23, 2011 4:16 pm

The Red Sox aren't in trouble, unless . . .

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 10:24 am

The Red Sox aren't in trouble, unless . . .

Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 4:03 pm

The Red Sox aren't in trouble, unless . . .

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 11:45 am

The Red Sox aren't in trouble, unless . . .

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Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 22, 2011 4:12 am
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Since: Jul 1, 2009
Posted on: April 11, 2011 6:56 pm

The Red Sox aren't in trouble, unless . . .

.....they continue to lose series! ...........They won't be able to get air until they reach .500..........They'll need to win their next 4 series to get even. Good news, taking 2 out of 3 against the Yankees gave them their first series win of the season. They'll have to go 5-2, at home, against Tampa Bay and Toronto to win those series. Must sweep the two in Oakland, a troublesome place for them to play lately, to win that series. After six series, 18 games into the season, they could surface. Stumble, in any of those series, and deeper into the season it will be before their head comes out of the water. How many games will they have played, how many series will it take to get a breath of fresh, clean air?........I believe the Red Sox will be brearthing easy by May, 2nd. 9 series and 28 games into the season. Just in time for a tough month of games in May. 

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: April 11, 2011 6:53 pm

The Red Sox aren't in trouble, unless . . .

So far they yankees have proved they have as good as if not better pitching and hitting as the sox.
Wow.  People actually think that 8 games "proves" anything?  Anything at all?  Give me a break.

Why do you insinuate that hughes basically has no chance to improve and buchholz does and just needs to pitch better?
I don't think he insinuated that at all.  He said Hughes lost velocity, which is a bigger concern than a good player struggling.  Kids Hughes' age don't typically lose velocity without some sort of injury.  That's a concern that might be out of Hughes' control.  Buchholz, on the other hand, does "just need to pitch better".

The sox have a good pitching staff, not great like you all want to claim
Someone claimed the Red Sox staff was great?  Wow, that would be silly. 

and definitely not that much if at all better than the Yankees.
Agreed.  I'd rather have the Red Sox rotation, but not by a whole lot. 

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: April 11, 2011 6:47 pm

The Red Sox aren't in trouble, unless . . .

I think the Orioles are the real deal. I'm not necessarily picking them to win it at this point, but they are going to force the Yanks and Sox to look over both shoulders instead of just one.
Seriously?  With a rotation that's at least as bad as the other two, and not close to the same lineup, why would you predict this?  PLEASE don't tell me it's because you think Guthrie's two good starts give him ace status, or that Bad Back Tillman will hold up, or that Matusz will return both healthy and suddenly pitching to his potential.  Please don't do that.

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