May 2, 2017 by adamburt13
(Courtesy of Jeff Gross/Associated Press)
Written by Adam Burt
The Boston Red Sox seemed to be a favorite to take the AL East and move on to the postseason heading into 2017, but after an up and down start they have clawed themselves into the middle of the AL East standings.
The Red Sox have numerous reasons for the rough start: some look to John Farrell, others point the finger to bullpen issues/injuries and some feel it’s a lack of run support – it’s a mix of it all boiled into one stew of disappointment.
Now there was no doubt that every Sox fan was beyond hyped up to get the season underway, but you could also feel the curiosity in the air with fans pondering what the “Post Big Papi” era was going to be like. This is a time that lifelong-Sox fans never wanted to imagine. Unfortunately it’s a reality; which means it’s time for people to step up to the plate and produce the way 34 used to.
Hitting the ball hasn’t been the main problem in the Red Sox struggles early on, but run support during good outings from the Red Sox starting pitchers has been abysmal.
Hanley Ramirez has seemed to be the one that’s going to fill the role of designated hitter for the Sox this year and he’s been doing an okay job at it with a couple of monster homers already this season while batting .253. The obvious bat that has been standing out is the one of rookie, and number-one baseball prospect, Andrew Benintendi who is off to a great start batting .333 for the Sox.
Other stand outs are Gold Glove-winning outfielder Mookie Betts and shortstop Xander Bogaerts. Even recently acquired first basemen Mitch Moreland who leads the MLB in doubles has shown signs of a career year.
People were also somewhat optimistic this year as well with Pablo Sandoval shedding some weight and appearing determined to get back to playing shape. So far Sandoval has landed himself on the 10-day disabled list and fans are upset they elected to keep him instead of fan-favorite Travis Shaw, a.k.a. “The Mayor of Ding Dong City.”
Luckily the injury is early in the season and not too severe so Sandoval can bounce back and potentially prove to fans he’s here to play. But the fans patience is running out with Sandoval due to poor fielding and a bad average at the plate on top of the injury to start the season. This is just another one of the team’s many early issues.
The main area of concern for the Red Sox though has been John Farrell and his poor bullpen management. Many fans have had it with Farrell and have been very vocal about it. Weather it be situations where he’s leaving starters in too long while no one is up getting loose, or not letting pitchers who are hot finish out games allowing the bullpen to blow it; the list just keeps growing.
To start the season, the Sox couldn’t catch a break. The bullpen, and even the overall roster as a whole, has been plagued with injuries and sickness from the beginning. At least five guys had the flu, David Price still isn’t back in the rotation and Tyler Thornburg and Carson Smith still haven’t made it back into the bullpen. Through that stretch they have rallied to find ways to win but the firm belief is that Farrell still could have done a better job.
Even though at times it’s a very frustrating process to go through, the Fenway faithful needs to sit back and relax. Everyone has their opinion on which way to point the finger so far but the season is still very young. The hopes are the Sox get Price and their bullpen guys back eventually, light a fire under Sandoval once he’s back off of the DL and just hope the run support starts to come around in games where the starters throw gems.
If the guys continue to play well and still find themselves losing, will the club move on from Farrell? Who knows? But they for sure hear the voice of the fans on this hot topic. The team is very young and explosive so we should stick behind them and pray for an injury free remainder of the season. If we get those guys back and the bats continue to start rolling when we need them, the water in Boston will be very dirty for the remainder of the season.