What Else Did You Expect?
The start to the 2022 MLB season has been anything but what the Red Sox expected. Granted we're only four games into a 162-game season, but the "weaknesses" they thought they had are proving to be just that and their "strengths" haven't been much better.
Going into the season the Sox knew their pitching was going to need some tuning to say the least. This was exacerbated when Chris Sale was announced to miss at least the first two months, causing them to lean on players like Rich Hill and Tanner Houck more than they'd like.
The good news is that the Sox would have one of the best batting lineups in the league, especially with signing star free agent Trevor Story to complete their infield. This team would have arguably the best first-six to their lineup with names like Hernandez, Devers, Martinez, Bogaerts, Verdugo and now Story. This lineup is a beautiful blend of contact and power while maintaining righties and lefties alike.
These bats were looking terrifying on paper, so now that we've examined how they "looked" let's talk about how they've played.
So far in the first four games of the season, which have all been on the road, the Red Sox are batting .173 with a .551 OPS. These numbers are pedestrian at best, but the problem isn't stemming from the superstars on this team. Devers and Verdugo are both averaging over .300 with a home run a piece. J.D. and Bogey have been consistent getting on base and J.D. added a home run in yesterday's game against the Tigers.
The Problem has been everyone else. If you don't include Verdugo, Devers, J.D. and Bogey, the team's average drops to .070 at five hits on seventy-one at-bats. That is not acceptable. The biggest disappointment so far has been Kike Hernandez who as of right now is 0-for-17. As the leadoff hitter he's expected to get on base at least once per game but has only added 2 base on balls to his "totals". Newest signing Trevor Story hasn't been much better, starting his Red Sox career 1-for-8 while missing the last two games because of an elbow injury. Players like Jackie Bradley Jr., Kevin Plawecki and Christian Arroyo are also still searching for their first hit of the season.
Here's why Red Sox fans should not be worried.
First of all, it's only four games in a season with a limited Spring Training. This team has several new pieces including a different bullpen from last year and it will certainly take some time for everyone to get to midseason form. Secondly, the team opened up on the road against a strong Yankees team. As Red Sox fans we want to beat the Yankees every time and think the sky is falling every time we don't, but give the devil their due, their team is very strong this year.
The fact that there's several platoon players that haven't gotten out of the gates yet also shows that the superstars are capable of carrying this team. As soon has Kike and JBJ start batting at the level we know they can, this team will start averaging five or six runs a game.
Lastly, Chris Sale will at some point play this season. It's seemed like forever since we've seen the former Cy Young playing at his best. If we know anything about the Red Sox pitching staff it's that they are extremely patient with Sale and will make sure he's at 110% when they finally put him back in the rotation. When Sale gets back to the majors this team will see a considerable spike in play and more importantly confidence around the entire roster.
The Red Sox continue their series with the Tigers through Wednesday then open up their home opening series with Twins then the Blue Jays. Eight more games will happen until we see an even amount of home and away games and we have a serious sample size to judge how the Red Sox start the season. There will certainly be games where the Sox remind us of why we have such lofty expectations and hopefully those games will light the fire this team needs to carry on through the season as the heavyweights we know they can be.
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