Posted by: Staff | 05.13.2010

Red Sox Looking to Overtake Rays, Jays, and Yankees


Despite predictions of a solid year for the Red Sox, primarily due to the acquisition of powerful starting pitcher John Lackey, they have gotten off to a considerably slow start. The current standings of the Sox division (the American League East) goes like this: Tampa Bay in first place with a strong twenty four wins and ten losses followed by the Yankees in second with a record of twenty two and eleven, and the Toronto Blue Jays in third with a record of twenty and sixteen. The Sox are in fourth place with a record of eighteen wins and seventeen losses, and the Baltimore Orioles are in last with an abysmal record of ten wins and twenty four losses. Although it is likely that Toronto will fade throughout the course of the season, the Rays and the Yankees are tough competitors. Even the most positive members of the Red Sox Nation can’t reasonably predict that these teams are peaking now.

As mentioned previously, Sox fans were hopeful at the beginning of the season that the Sox pitching staff would prove to be dominant due to the signing of John Lackey, who was most recently a member of the Los Angeles Angels. Lackey himself has been doing decently in the win – loss column (two wins and one loss), but no star pitcher like Lackey is happy with an era (average runs allowed in nine innings by the pitcher) around 4.5. Strangely, Clay Buckholz, who is by no means the “ace of the staff”, has made the strongest start of the season out of the pitching staff for the Sox. With an earned run average of 2.97, he is doing the best on the team, which isn’t good considering the Sox have powerhouses such as Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and aforementioned John Lackey. As much as these numbers may seem like a cause for worry, remember: it is still very early in the season and they can very easily prove to mean almost nothing.

All this aside however, it can be agreed that the Sox’s real struggling lies in the batter’s box. A few years ago, when the Sox won the world series, the offense played an enormous role. With the three and four slots being held by David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, the Sox had the most powerful “one-two punch” in that part of the lineup in the league. Some went so far as to compare it to the combination of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, who carried the Yankees in their glory days in the 20’s and 30’s. However, times change. Ramirez proved to be a less than pleasant presence on the team; so much so that when he went to the Los Angeles Dodgers, many people missed his bat but few missed his personality. With Manny gone, fans turned to the new three and four slots of David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis. Although replacing Manny’s bat is literally impossible, as he really is one of the best in the history of the game, Kevin Youkilis has been a huge success for the Sox.
However, Ortiz is a different story. After accusations of steroid use last year, Ortiz’s performance has dropped considerably. It is presumed that he had been taking steroids in order to boost his physical strength and performance on the field, and when he was accused of doing so he stopped, causing a rapid decline in performance.
As much as these facts might seem to represent daunting challenges for the Sox’ season, the year is still young. The Sox can certainly overcome these issues and pull off a winning season, but it might take a little more luck than one would like. Go Sox!



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