Monday, April 4, 2011

Some Thoughts to Take Away from the Sweep in Texas this Weekend

Okay, so this series didn't go the way Red Sox nation may have hoped. This, however, does not mean it is time to panic. If you have been watching ESPN at all this morning or last night, you now know that since the 90s, only 3.75% of the teams that have started out 0-3 have gone on to make the playoffs. What they didn't tell you is that one of the last teams to do so, the 1998 Yankees, won 114 games and the World Series. They did that because they were a good team, and the first three games aren't a huge deal. So, don't worry. The Red Sox still have a very talented team, and should be fine. No need to panic yet. And on the bright side, we are playing Cleveland next. If the fans need more convincing to get off the ledge, here are some more numbers, via ESPN.

  • The 2009 Sox lost their second, third and fourth games, and then their sixth, seventh and eighth in a 2-6 start. They later had losing streaks of five and six games (twice) and finished 95-67 and won the wild card.
  • The 2008 Sox lost three straight during the first week and had two streaks of five losses. They finished 95-67 and won the wild card.
  • The 2007 Sox had six streaks of at least three losses in a row. They won the World Series.
  • The 2004 Sox had four streaks of at least three losses in a row. You may have heard that they won the World Series, too.

Hopefully, this has helped you antsy fans. Here are my grades for the players seen in this season.

Jacoby Ellsbury- B+ 
The Red Sox leadoff hitter was solid this weekend. He went 3-12 with 2 walks, 3 runs, a home run and a double. He showed good range in the outfield, and looked strong in the leadoff spot. It was a good series for a guy coming back from an injury-plagued year.

Dustin Pedroia- B
Pedroia looked solid as well in the number 2 hole. He was 3-11 with just 3 singles and an RBI. He also made some nice plays in the field, which brought his grade up slightly above what the offense would indicate.

Carl Crawford- C-
Crawford looked bad in the first two games, almost earning himself an F for the series. However, after being moved down to 7th in the lineup Sunday, Crawford looked a little more comfortable in a Red Sox uniform, recording his first hit and first RBI. For the series, he was 2-11.

Kevin Youkilis- B
Youkilis looked like the Youkilis of old yesterday, namely, the "Greek God of Walks." He was 2-9 for the series, but walked a few times as well to give him an early .417 OBP. He also scored 2 runs and got a double. His grade would have been higher had it not been for the team's only error.

Alex Gonzalez- A
Gonzalez, in his first series with the team, looked more impressive than anyone else at the plate. He finished the series at 5-13 at the plate with 2 runs and 3 RBI. He also flashed some pretty impressive leather at first base.

David Ortiz- A
If Gonzalez was number 1 for this series, Ortiz was 1A. Notorious for the last couple of year for getting off to slow starts, Ortiz made sure not to hear any of that in 2011. He went 4-12 in the series, including 2 long balls, 4 RBI and 10 total bases. 

Jarrod Saltalamacchia- D-
Surprisingly, Salty got the nod for all three games in this series, and did not perform very well at all. He only reached base once in the series, and it was on an error. While I think blaming Salty for the pitching performances is a bit much, he still can't be held completely without blame.

Marco Scutaro- F
He went 0-8 in his 2 games. The only question is how long will Tito stick with him.

Jed Lowrie- D+
Lowrie only got 6 plate appearances, and got on base twice in one start. I'm hoping we get to see some more of him in Cleveland.

JD Drew/Mike Cameron/Darnell McDonald- F-
I'm not sure that grade is legal, but I'm going to give it out anyways. These guys split the time in right field for the series, and none of them managed a hit. They will clearly need more production out of right field this year. 

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