Originally posted on The Baseball Page  |  Last updated 4/12/12


Bobby Valentine and the Red Sox are off to another slow start.

It’s crazy to think that at 1-5, the Red Sox actually have a better record than they did six games into last season. But it doesn’t feel like it.

The season has just started, and it already seems like the Red Sox have lost in every way imaginable. They’ve been shut out. They’ve been blown out. They’ve lost low-scoring games. They’ve lost high-scoring games. They’ve lost to a walk-off hit when the game was tied and they’ve lost on a walk-off home run when they had the lead.

And again, we are only six games into the season.

Is it too soon to panic? Yes, it absolutely is to early to panic. Even though the Red Sox didn’t make the playoffs last year, they were 2-10 to start the year and a historic collapse is the main reason they didn’t make the post season.  A bad start doesn’t kill a season. Boston proved that last year.

But I didn’t say that Red Sox fans shouldn’t worry. This year’s team just isn’t as good as last year’s. 

It's only a matter of time before Boston's hitting heats up.

Right now, Boston’s offense has been uncharacteristically bad. It doesn’t rank in the top 10 in any major offensive category, and nine different players have more home runs (three) than the entire Red Sox team (two). But it’s not the offense that is concerning. Yes David Ortiz is a year older, and Kevin Youkilis won’t be breaking Cal Ripken Jr.’s consecutive game streak, but Boston still has some of the most dangerous offensive weapons in all of baseball. Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, and Adrian  Gonzalez all have legitimate chances at winning the Most Valuable Player award, and if Carl Crawford can resemble anything of the player he was in Tampa Bay, then there is no reason this team should put out one of baseball’s elite offenses.

The pitching, though, is another story. Remember two years ago when the Red Sox seemed to be transition from a team focused on great offense to a team that preached good pitching and better defense? Yeah, that transition never happened. Currently, Boston has an earned run average of 6.40, ranking 30th in the league. The pitching won’t be that bad all season long, but it won’t be great, either. Outside of Jon Lester, who is a solid ace, the rest of the rotation is full of question marks.

Josh Beckett has an incredible 2011 season, but a horrendous 2010 campaign, which pitcher will we see? Clay Bucholz has shown promise at times, but he has only pitched over 100 innings once in his career. How reliable will he be? Can Daniel Bard make the transition from reliever to started effectively? How reliable is the bullpen? Who is Felix Doubront and why has he already started a game?

We have a whole season for these questions to be answered, but in a loaded AL East, and with a team that isn’t as good as last year, Boston could be in trouble. The extra Wild Card spot means that there are six teams (New York, Tampa Bay, Boston, Detroit, Texas, and Los Angeles) fighting for five playoff spots. The Red Sox have the worst rotation out of those six teams, but they could have the best offense.

Will it be enough?

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