The Boston Red Sox have opened the 2009 season at 2-5 and while a week is a drop in the bucket for the team in a 162 game season, there are some worrisome trends thus far in their season. They aren't hitting very well and they aren't pitching very well. And this was a team expected to do both.
Again, it's not time to panic after only seven games. But outside of Jason Bay and Kevin Youkilis, the team has been anemic at the plate. Here are the OPS figures of several key players: Pedroia .615, Lowell .531, Ellsbury .459, Ortiz .541, Drew .540 and Lowrie .206 (!). The Red Sox were already worried about Ortiz and Lowell coming into the season after injury-filled and off production years last year. They both look slow and old. And one of their few hot hitters, Jason Bay, hurt his wrist last night, which could affect his offense for a while to come.
The real strength of the Red Sox going into the season was their pitching. On paper, they had a monster staff not even counting Buchholz, now at AAA, or John Smoltz. But other than Beckett, the vaunted starters have not started well. Matsuzaka gave up 12 base runners in 5.1 innings of work his first start and Jon Lester, expected by many to be a Cy Young candidate, is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA to this point. Brad Penny got a win in his only start but gave up two homers in six innings.
The bullpen was also considered a strength. The loquacious Jonathan Papelbon has been shaky thus far, Okijama and Masterson have matching 13.50 ERAs and heralded newcomer Saito is at 7.71. Hardly good starts.
Again, it's early. The team has 155 games remaining on its schedule. But it's a troubling start for the Red Sox and in a tough division where one or two games can make a difference, it's a concern.