Panic! Everybody panic!
Ok so that, mixed with the headline and picture, may be a bit over the top but it doesn’t change the fact that as a Boston Red Sox fan this last week has been difficult to watch.
0-6 was not how this season was suppose to start. The line-up is filled with All-Stars and the rotation is strong from start to finish. The Bullpen is solid and the bench is deep. How is this happening and more importantly why are we so shocked?
A lot of this comes from the fact that just about every major media out that makes predictions has the Red Sox at least making the World Series, with most having them winning it. I mean the Boston Herald crowned the the “Best Team Ever” in bold print on the front page before the season opener and the Red Sox network ran a story in January saying this team would challenge the 1927 Yankees as the greatest team in history.
This team is not going to be historically good and assuming that with no proven track record to speak of was just plain irresponsible journalism. I have no issue with ESPN and Sports Illustrated writers picking the Sox to win it all, but when local media outlets call the historically great, thats wrong.
The additions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford caused all of Red Sox nation to throw on the rose colored glasses. Our haze only worsen when the Yankees failed to sign Cliff Lee and it became clear that the Red Sox had won the offseason.
What no one wanted to talk about though was that this team has flaws and most of them were highlighted as spring training questions over a month ago. Tony Massarotti of 98.5 The Sports Hub pointed out an extremely fascinating fact about the starting line-up for the Red Sox. Every single member has something personal to overcome.
Jacoby Elisbury, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia and Gonzalez are all coming off injury. Gonzalez and Crawford are dealing with new pressures of being big ticket guys in a major baseball market. JD Drew is contemplating retirement (and the possibility of smiling once). Marco Scutaro is trying to keep is job and Jarrod Saltalamacchia is trying to deal with being a starter for the first time.
These small personal issues are combining to form the cluster mess of historic proportions.
The other big issue with this team is leadership. Mike Lowell was the team leader the last few years but he has retired and there doesn’t seem to be anyone stepping up to take it over. The wise money would be on Youkilis and Pedroia to step as as club house leaders but we haven’t seen or heard of them doing anything like that. Jason Varitek is the only other logical leader but its hard to lead when your not on the field.
The coaching staff also took a hit in the offseason. Manager Terry Francona is still getting over the lose of former bench coach Brad Mills last year and the departure of pitching coach John Farrell this year. Curt Young, who took over for Farrell, doesn’t seem to have connected with pitching staff yet.
There is a lot to be concerned about with this team but we are only six games in and have plenty of time and talent to turn this around. And if we don’t it will be amazing to watching this team crash and burn, I just hope whatever happens, it's on a historic level.