We are about 1/8 of the way through the baseball season, and the Boston Red Sox find themselves in last place in the A.L. East. The injuries are piling up as Kevin Youkilis has been placed on the D.L. with a strained back; ace Josh Beckett will miss his start on Saturday with stiffness. They are already without starters Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, and closer Andrew Bailey which has contributed to their slow start. The real question to be asked, is this a playoff team?
In my opinion, no they are not and it is not just because of injuries. Their lineup consists of hitters who mash middle and bottom tier pitching but struggle against the upper echelon. The pitching staff is overrated with concerns of being brittle and susceptible to injury. Manager Bobby Valentine has a bullpen that consists of too many question marks, and not enough answers.
The inconsistencies of the offense and starting rotation are major problems. It is either boom or bust as the offense scores 12 runs or 2. I call it the bully syndrome, where they beat up on weak opponents but struggle against equal competition.
So who is to blame for the Red Sox problems? It starts with the front office. They have handed out millions of dollars in free agency and have received very little production. Let’s go down the list of stinkers; John Lackey, Carl Crawford, Daisuke Matsuzaka, J.D. Drew, Matt Clement, Julio Lugo, Edgar Renteria, and Mike Cameron were given huge contracts by this regime. The team that won in 2004 was essentially former GM Dan Duquette’s players. A huge chunk of their payroll is tied up to players who are not even playing.
Can they turn it around? We will see, but if the injuries keep piling up this could be a season of transition.