The Red Sox are off to an atrocious start and much of the ridicule they’re enduring is based on the expectations and bluster than accompanied their terrific off-season in which they spent tons of money on quality players to fill their holes. Suggesting that any team is a rival for the 1927 Yankees is foundation for disaster.
I had a class in college called “stress management” (don’t ask) and a friend of mine got an F+ on one of his essays.
It’s hard to dress up an “F”; it’s hard to dress up 0-6.
But is it worthy of the widespread panic that’s taken hold?
It doesn’t take much effort to put the Red Sox current woes into context; nor does it require much work to contain the terror permeating Red Sox Nation.
Look at the current numbers of the Red Sox—link.
They haven’t hit (.181 average; 4 homers; .543 OPS); and neither the starters nor the bullpen (apart from Jon Lester) have done their jobs.
Factor in the hot start the Rangers have gotten off to and that the Red Sox were schooled in fundamentals by the Indians and you get 0-6.
The press coverage, frustrated comments from the players and the desperation evident in the supposed “best” manager in baseball hasn’t helped.
Media vultures are circling and referencing won-lost record and clubs that have gotten off to an 0-6 start as basis for doom and gloom. Maudlin player comments bordering on self-pity and searching for answers are printed in the papers and on the websites; Terry Francona had no business batting Carl Crawford seventh in the third game of the season.
There’s no denying any of the above factors.
But here’s reality.
For all the talk of teams that have started off so poorly at 0-6 and the two that made the playoffs—the 1995 Cincinnati Reds and 1974 Pirates—you have to look at the other teams and whether or not they were any good.
Here’s the list of teams that have started off 0-6—link.
Almost all bad teams with limited expectations before, during and after the season. Pick a few of the teams in recent memory. The 1992 Royals? The 2002 Tigers? The 2003 Tigers? The 1988 Orioles? The 1997 Cardinals? The 1997 Cubs?
These were bad teams with little talent and little hope.
Can that be said for these Red Sox?
Do you truly believe that this ineptitude for such established, battle-tested players is a season-long possibility? That their bullpen and starting rotation will be so shaky?
Of course not. They have too much talent to keep playing like this. But it’s a convenient story. Combined with the overwhelming expectations, the Red Sox home opener (against the Yankees!) this afternoon, it’s natural for there to be lunacy expanding to crisis proportions.
It’s not a crisis.
It’s a bad start. No more, no less.
Talent will right the ship.
It always does.
Paul Lebowitz’s 2011 Baseball Guide is available and will be useful for your fantasy leagues all season long. It’s not a “preview”; it’s a guide.
I published a full excerpt of my book here.
If anyone would like to purchase an autographed copy, leave a comment; Email me; contact me on Facebook or Twitter. We’ll hash out the details.
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