After the first full week of the 2014 season, the Boston Red Sox find themselves at 2-4 and in a fourth-place tie in the American League East division. The standings do not mean much yet, but the team has not gotten off to the best start. Expect that to change as the games roll along.
The Red Sox lost the opener 2-1 to the Baltimore Orioles. They then took the next two (6-4 and 4-3). They lost three straight to the Milwaukee Brewers (6-2, 7-6, and 4-0) in their home-opening series. Do not fret about a losing first week. The Red Sox have all of the pieces needed to win another division title. There are 157 games left to play.
The starting pitching is just as expected aside from Clay Buchholz‘s rough Saturday night (6 ER in 4.1 IP). Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Jake Peavy have had very good first games. Buchholz and Felix Doubront will do much better as they get more starts. Even the best have a rough outing, and Doubrant’s (3 ER in 5.1 innings) really is not that bad.
Grady Sizemore showed why he earned that starting role. He is 3 for 14, but he has already contributed with a home run, and he has played a very good center field. Jackie Bradley is getting a second chance to show that he can play in the Majors. He is 2 for 8 so far, and while that is not great, he can make it tough for Farrell to send him back down when Shane Victorino comes back from the disabled list. David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Koji Uehara, and Junichi Tazawa are performing as well as usual.
Edward Mujica had a very tough time Thursday night: 4 ER in 0.2 IP. Still, though, he has a bullpen presence, and he will fare much better as the season continues.
Offensively, Daniel Nava is only 3 for 26. A.J. Pierzynski and Jonny Gomes have combined for 5 for 34. Every hitter has a strecth like this, and all three are much better and will improve very soon. These stretches get magnified when they happen to start the season.
The Red Sox have lost three one-run games so far. They will end up winning more of those games than losing.
The Red Sox placed Victorino on the 15-day disabled list on March 31 because of a strained right hamstring. The move is retroactive to March 30, so he is eligible to return on April 14. He could play soon after if he heals well enough. There is no rush; the Red Sox have plenty of outfielders and offense to survive without him.
Reliever Craig Breslow could return to the bullpen by the end of the month. He is recovering from left shoulder strain, but he has already begun a Minor-League rehab assignment. He has pitched 1.2 scoreless innings for Triple-A Pawtucket since April 3.
Steven Wright has no timetable set yet for his return. He is on the disabled list because of a sports hernia suffered in January. He did not pitch at all in Spring Training.
Only one week has passed, so we really cannot judge the entire season just yet. Teams get hot and cold all season long. The Red Sox will have many more hot spots than cold. I still predict them to win the division, and unless I see otherwise at mid-season, I will hold fast to my prediction.by