Here’s the thing: A lot has been made about Boston’s starting rotation to start the year – How not having a marquee name cannot be the formula for success. How having a staff ERA above 5.00 also tends to slim a team’s chances of winning considerably.
But now what about the hitting? Rick Porcello, Justin Masterson and Wade Miley have each turned in consecutive outings over the past three games, but the bats seem to have suddenly disappeared somewhat.
In 3-2 and 4-2 losses to the Yankees to open this weekend’s series, the run totals have obviously been lacking but the hits are still there (8 today and eight Friday with 24 runners left on base between the two games).
I had this discussion with a friend back in the 2013 campaign. We tend look at high left-on-base numbers as a negative, but is it really? What if it’s more a sign of a team that can get guys on base, and the breaks just aren’t falling the right way just yet? What if it is a just a natural bi-product of a team that is going to have a high OBP for the season?
In my time watching Boston over the years, I’ve always been struck at how much one or two games can color a storyline within the Boston media. My frustration with watching the 2014 team’s struggles wasn’t in the struggles themselves, but in watching the management team and the media row get restless. I fear the same restlessness when the team falls into mini-slumps like this weekend.
Last year’s group was a good group. We saw a lot of guys with strong futures and high ceilings. In the panicked fallout, I believe Boston overpaid for marquee names in the lineup without necessarily upgrading the overall roster and moved important pieces out that could have contributed this year. It’ll be interesting to see how this season plays out. There are interesting pieces there. My worst fear is this push for a marquee starter will be the costliest and most punishing move of the lot.
These are all themes I want to examine further and in more detail in this venue.