After a full month of some good ole baseball, the Red Sox are sitting in second place, to the Blue Jays! We all know April can be an upside down month for the game, but this year has been pretty interesting. You have teams like Seattle and Toronto holding down thier respective Divisons, players with sub par averages batting over 350., and the pitching has been all over the place, at least for the Sox.
The one thig that worries me is number 34. I have been a solid fan of Ortiz for a while now, and what Ive been seeing isnt making me feel safe. Ive got all ends of a bad stick talking about how Big Papi is on his decline and that the BoSox need to make a move, and make it soon. But if you dont look at it from a bias point of view, you would know that this guy is in trouble. A WHOLE month in the books and not ONE homerun. Not ONE! Should we be worried though? I would say its still a little to early to tell, but it conerns the hell out of me.
I have mentioned trades that I thought would benifit from shipping the once feared DH out of town, but then I get blasted for being a Red Sox fan and saying that he needs to go. If you take the Fenway out of your eyes, you could see that its about that time. We should all know by now that our good old friend Manny Ramirez helped Otriz at the plate. Theres no hiding that, and its sure as hell showing this season.
Where Ortiz is lacking, the rest of the team is making up for. Take our Canadian Left Fielder, Jason Bay for example. 79 at bats this season and his numbers look like this, 5 HRs, .304 BA, with 20 runs and 20 RBIs, and another 22 BBs. I'd say thats a more than solid for the first month of baseball. If we were to "on pace" these stats, it would make for an MVP season, but I never really go with those predictions. The funny thing is, Bay is batting pretty low in the potent Sox lineup. My question is, WHY!? With the struggling Ortiz, wouldnt you move Bay, say to the 3 spot, having Kevin Youkilis batting behind him, giving Bay even better pitches to look at? What really burns my ass, other than a candle 2 feet below it, is the fact that J.D. Drew is batting in the fifth spot, in front of the hot Mike Lowell and Bay. Now of course, I dont get paid the big bucks that Francona gets, or I woudnt be writting this blog but, what hell terry!
I can understand that spreading the bats around makes for a deep lineup but when you have players putting up some seriously good numbers the first month of the season, wouldnt you wanna move things around a little bit? Or, you leave it alone, because it's worked so far, and like we all say, "If it aint broke, dont fix it". Either way, it all works for me, but Ortiz is hurting the team in my opinion, and I would say that they just might make a move for a new power hitter in the lineup.
With all that off my chest, I want to talk about pitching. This also is a little upside down. Why you ask, because Tim "I can play untill Im 60" Wakefield is our best pitcher coming into May. Wake sits with a 3-1 record, 2.91 ERA, and 2 complete games. Now I know that Wake is a very streaky pitcher, fact being that Ive watched this guy for the past 15 years, he always seems to find a grove once and a while, and this time, it happens to be in the first month of the season. This doesnt concern me to much, but what does is Josh Beckett.
We know that he had a pretty injury plagued season last year, and we were fully optimistic about his healthy return this year, but Im not ejoying what Iam seeing of late. Still, it is early, but I was hoping for a red hot Beckett right out of the gates. So, Ill leave that alone untll I get another months look at him. There are a few other question marks I still have though, one main one is our friend from the east, Mr. Matsuzaka. Already, in the first few weeks, he hit the DL with "arm fatigue". Is this the side affect to pitching in the Baseball classic? My take would be that it has something to do with it. I mean, your heading into spring training barley baseball ready, and then go out and pitch competitive baseball, and givin his WBS stats, he wasnt messing around! He starts his triple A assingment soon, so, lets see how bad this "injury" is.
Coming into the season, all I head on tv and sports blogs is how deep we are at pitching, then, we come out the gate at 2-6. I will admit, even though it was only 8 games, I had a beed of sweat dripping down. Then, I relized we have the crafty vetran in John Smoltz. This guy just wont get old! Givin that he's on DL doesnt help, but sure as hell looks great down the strectch. The Sox knew his track record in the post season, and understood that this guy would be a huge factor come October. Thats why thier really not rushing him back into the rotation, this guy is our "secret weapon" come playoff time, and I think he will pay off, better than we hoped!
With all that said, there is still ALOT of baseball to be played, alot! Its what I love about this game. So, with a month down, and 5 more to go, we should be instore for another great season here in Boston. Lets hope for a great month of May baseball. Stay tuned for my monthly take on the BoSox and other news around the MLB.