Time To Panic Red Sox Nation!

Time to panic Red Sox Nation

The time to panic is now. The time to panic, freak out, blow a gasket and/or go bananas is unfortunately upon us. The 2014 Boston Red Sox now rival my scholastic career when it comes to greatly underachieving.

Fresh off a 14-5 series-ending beat down at the hands of the dreaded New York Yankees, the Red Sox limped into Canada hoping that a change in countries, and copious amounts of poutine, would be enough of a motivating factor to get them back to .500.

The Red Sox managed to take two of three from the Toronto Blue Jays, but once again failed to take that giant leap forward needed to get them fully back on track. After losing the first game of an eventual day-night doubleheader sweep to the Tampa Rays on Thursday, the Red Sox have now lost their seventh-straight game this season where a win would have brought them to at or above the .500 mark.

The current eight-game home stand concludes with visits from both the American League West leading Oakland Athletics and the scrappy 13-15 Cincinnati Reds.

This early May home stand will serve as a crucial turning point to the young season. The recent returns of outfielder Shane Victorino and third baseman Will Middlebrooks, from the 15-day disabled list, finally allows manager John Farrell the opportunity to consistently field the best possible lineup on a nightly basis; a lineup he had likely envisioned when the club began to take shape over the offseason.

Injuries and Major League Baseball’s newly expanded video replay system can be blamed for a large part of the team’s current situation, but they’re not the only things. The Red Sox have been, at various times, failing in all phases of the game. Consistency has eluded this team from the onset. Continually failing to string together more than two wins in a row has kept the Red Sox from emerging from the murky depths of the American League East.

The 2013 Red Sox made their mark by turning nothing into something on a nightly basis. A two, three or even a four-run lead did not seem insurmountable in 2013, it was just another opportunity for someone to step up and deliver.

The 2014 Red Sox will never be the 2013 team, no team ever will.

As we rip another month off of the calendar, we must keep remembering two things. First, seasons are rarely lost in April. Secondly, one of the most difficult things to do in all of sports is to repeat. Baseball can be a harsh reality at times. With each passing loss, long-time fans will begin to question the future of this great franchise while lining the Tobin contemplating whether or not to jump. This is Boston, this is what we do, this is what we signed up for.

Each game is an opportunity for the team to get back to their winning ways. Each game is an opportunity to turn nothing into something.

 

 

 

 

2014 Red Sox Preview

2014 Red Sox Preview

What can I say about the 2013 Boston Red Sox that hasn’t already been said? The team went from the AL East worst team in 2012 to having the best record in all of baseball in 2013, winning their third World Series Championship in 10 years. Much of last year’s team returns in an attempt to become baseball’s first back-to-back champion since the New York Yankees from 1998 to 2000. Here’s my 2014 Red Sox preview.

The Red Sox offense produced 853 runs last season, which was the most in the majors by a wide margin. There are questions about whether the 2014 team can equal the same production as last season.

No one knows if Grady Sizemore can stay healthy and replace the production of Jacoby Ellsbury. New catcher A.J. Pierzynski is an upgrade on defense and should be able to provide the same offense as Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but he is 37-years-old.

Will Xander Bogaerts become the offensive shortstop the Red Sox believe he can be? He is certainly the future of the team, but Boston needs him to produce in 2014.

Last season, Red Sox starters were 67-42 with a 3.84 ERA. Much of the same rotation returns for 2014.

Boston hopes moving Clay Buchholz down to the fifth spot in the rotation will keep him healthy. He only played in 16 regular-season starts last year and should provide a boost at the back of the rotation.

Having Jake Peavy for the full season will be an upgrade from Ryan Dempster. If Jon Lester, John Lackey and Felix Doubront put up the same type of numbers, the rotation actually should be improved.

The Red Sox bullpen could be the team’s biggest strength. With the addition of 2013 All-Star Edward Mujica, the team will have a number of options for the seventh and eighth innings. I doubt Koji Uehara can duplicate what he did in 2013, when he had one of the most dominate seasons any relief pitcher has ever had.  However, I still expect him to be an effective closer in 2014.

It would be hard for the Red Sox to win 97 games again like they did last season. The team had a lot of things break their way and that’s very difficult to do two years in a row. There are some questions concerning the rotation and the new everyday starters of the Red Sox.

Boston is still well-rounded enough that they should contend in the American League in 2014. Fans shouldn’t expect 97 wins again, but they can expect the Red Sox to be right near the top of the AL East once again.