Should The Red Sox Be Panicked By Their Recent Poor Plays?
The Boston Red Sox are sending off panic alarms all throughout New England thanks to their 4-14 play so far in the month of September. The team's starting pitching along with the offensive slump has combined for a horrific month thus far. Their AL Wild Card lead has dropped all the ways to a single game in the loss column over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Should the Red Sox panic or simply be alarmed by their baseball play?
While many fans and experts have pushed the panic button, you have to take a step back and realize we are talking about the Boston Red Sox. This is the team that surpassed all panic alarms in 2004 coming back from down 0-3 in the American League Championship Series to the Yankees of all teams. While this 4-14 stretch has been a horrible one, you have to realize that at some point this club will get it done.
If you look at the Red Sox's remaining schedule, as well as the schedules of the Yankees and Rays, that alone should make Red Sox fans feel ok. The Yankees and Rays play each other seven more times in the ten remaining regular season games. While the Red Sox do have one more series against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, they play the Baltimore Orioles for six more games to close out the season. So lets break this down further.
When you think about it, the Yankees should win a decent amount of games to the Tampa Bay Rays. That alone will help out the Red Sox. While manager Buck Showalter has his Baltimore Orioles playing much better baseball, you have to figure the Red Sox will at least win a few games against the O's.
Additionally, keep in mind this 4-14 slide has a lot to do with the starting pitching. In only a couple of games has their starter even gone 6 innings. That has put a lot of toll on the bullpen. Yes, it is September and the Red Sox have a full roster of players, but a lot of these young players just don't quite have the talent yet to get it done at the majors. So a taxed bullpen, combined with the lack of length from their starters, AND an offensive slump from Dustin Pedroia and other Red Sox bats have resulted in this slide.
The starting pitching will turn around, though the Red Sox really only have Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, then the rest. Clay Buchholz is done for the year and the Red Sox are left with Lackey, Wakefield, and Bedard. The pitching bright spot out of the bullpen is former Yankee Alfredo Aceves. He's provided good length from the bullpen for the Red Sox. The rest of the bullpen is very questionable including their late innings guys of Papelbon and Bard. Both are susceptible to give up leads late in games.
So while I believe the Red Sox will still make the playoffs, the only way they will advance through the playoffs is if their offense becomes red hot and provides a suffocating amount in which it will take a ton from their opponents to make a run. Other than that, the Red Sox have to make do with only two viable starters and a bullpen with only two dependable late inning guys and a dependable long reliever. It will be a real challenge for the Red Sox down the stretch and into October.