Are the Red Sox Better Now Than a Year Ago?

With 41 games played, we are just past the quarter pole of the Major League Baseball season, and what many had envisioned as a season of hope and change is proving to be any but that.

A year ago, after 41 games played, the Red Sox were 20-21, and 2.5 games out of first Hanley Ramirezplace.  This year, they are 19-22 at the 41 game mark, and 3.5 games out of first place. Not much of a difference really, right? WRONG.

Last year the Red Sox had two pitchers on the staff in late May that were capable of winning a game each time out. Jon Lester and John Lackey weren’t going to be confused with Cy Young last year, but they combined for 11 wins through April and May of last year. Lester was 5-5 and Lackey was 6-6.  So far this year, the ace of the staff is Rick Porcello, and right now his 4-2 record looks pretty good.

Many assumed Clay Buchholz would be the new ace, but at 2-5, he has similar numbers to a year ago, when he was 2-4. The one saving grace this year is that his ERA is only 4.58 right now, as opposed to the 7.03 a year ago. As an aside, Buchholz’ next win at Fenway will be his first this season.

The pitching can’t be all to blame, even though only two teams in all of MLB have given up more run than the 199 the Sox have allowed. The hitting is less than stellar, ranking 27th in batting average in the major leagues. Only three teams are hitting worse than the .233 average the Red Sox need to improve on. As hot as Hanley Ramirez was last month, (10 HR, 22 RBI, .293 average) his numbers have been anemic this month (0 HR, 0 RBI, .213.)  Brock Holt hit .358 in April, in May he’s batting .158.

If one looks hard enough, they can find fault and flaws with the performances of virtually all of the players on the roster.  At what point will the scrutiny fall upon the manager?  The team relieved pitching coach Juan Nieves of his duties earlier this month. Who will be next? With a payroll creeping near $200,000,000, that focus is on John Farrell.

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