With April in the books, what is different between this years’ version of the Red Sox and the 2014 team? At first blush, one might think, ‘Well, clearly the pitching is a little better than last year and the hitting is much better.’ Not so fast, Rem Dog disciples.
Last years’ pitching staff was actually BETTER through one month than the current staff. Through one month, the ERA in 2015 is a league worst 5.04. Last year at this time it was 3.95, right in the middle of the pack. As far as the number of earned runs that have been given up, the Sox are atop all of Major League Baseball in that category with 113 allowed. Not exactly the type of stat you want to brag about. Last year, they actually played four more games in April and gave up 9 fewer earned runs.
At the plate, most folks thought with the addition of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval that balls would be flying over the Green Monster at epic proportions, and even fantasized that the Mass Pike would have to be closed down during games for driver safety. While Ramirez just tied David Ortiz’ record for most home runs in April, with 10, the team batting average is well, just average. At .245 it is good enough for 6th overall in the league, which at least is better that the .245 of a year ago that was 11th best.
Even with new sluggers added this year, some numbers are still very close when looked at year to year. Last years’ slugging percentage was .384, this year it is at .379. A year ago the OPS was .333, this year it is at .332, and this year’s OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging) is .711 while a year ago it was .717.
What does all this mean? WHO KNOWS?! A year ago the Red Sox were a sub-.500 team, 2.5 games out of first place behind the New York Yankees. Now, they are 12-10 and just one game behind the Yankees, who come to town this weekend.
It’s obvious that pitching is the weak link, and that the roster is overcrowded with some guys who can still hit (Daniel Nava, Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli) and might be able to help a team, and with others who may have enormous upside such as Brock Holt and Jackie Bradley Jr. Let’s also bear in mind that Rusney Castillo and Yoan Moncada represent an enormous investment and they’ll be at Fenway Park before too long. It’s time for Ben Cherington to play ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ and beef up the pitching.