Twenty-five games into their World Series championship defense, the Red Sox are 12-13. They really have not hit yet. Their defense has been atrocious. Their base running has been suspect. Of late, their starting pitching has gone pfft.
Here’s what I’m getting at:
Things could be a heck of a lot worse.
In fact, they probably should be.
Admit it: when Clay Buchholz starting serving meatballs in the first inning at Toronto yesterday, you thought, Here we go again. Then Toronto starter Brandon Morrow started playing pin-the-tail-on-donkey as if he were both blindfolded and drunk – betcha John Farrell doesn’t miss managing him, anymore – and the Sox somehow pulled out a 7-6 victory. That came just one week after the Sox overcame a 5-0 deficit to claim a 6-5 win over the Baltimore Orioles, giving Boston two victories in a week that defy the laws of statistical probability.
Last year, through 25 games, the Sox were 18-7. Under the circumstances, this club could easily be, what, 9-16? 10-15? Beyond the obvious performance of the bullpen – Boston ranks third in the majors with a 2.89 relief ERA thus far – the Red Sox already have drawn from much of the competitiveness and grit that largely defined their 2013 season. And that remains arguably the team’s greatest asset as the Sox approach the end of the season’s first full month.
Incredibly, since the start of last season, the Red Sox still have not lost more than three games in a row. With a win today, the Sox will return to .500 for the first time since they were 2-2. And thanks, too, to the relative parity in baseball thus far, they remain clustered with most everyone else in the middle of a very large pack.
Let’s be honest, folks. The Sox really haven’t played worth a lick yet.
But they haven’t been harmed at all.