The Sky is Not Falling

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Fenway Park, originally uploaded by sogrady.

Today sucked, I get that. And yes, I’m just as unhappy as you are. I don’t enjoy residing – as we do after today’s 7-4 debacle – at the bottom of the division any more than you do, I promise. Less, probably.

But remember, people: it’s a marathon. We’re seven games in, and only two games back of the division leading, um, Orioles (seriously, look it up). Five days ago in Oakland we looked liked world beaters; that wasn’t realistic. But neither is it appropriate to write off this year’s club after three pedestrian outings in Toronto.

Particularly since the losses can largely be attributed to one single area of the club: the bullpen. Sure, the offense isn’t exactly lighting it up, after getting manhandled by the likes of Shaun Marcum. But realistically, it’s the bullpen that’s to blame. Or more specifically, the middle relief as Oki and Pap have been themselves.

Whether or not it’s true, as Remy asserted during today’s telecast, that the overexposure of the bullpen is directly attributable to the fact that our starters were one start short in spring training due to the Japan trip is, in my mind, academic. We are where we are, and whatever is to blame, we’ve got games to play. Games that count.

Part of the solution may arrive in the ongoing reconfiguration of the bullpen – Snyder’s already gone, and one of Aardsma/Corey will be exiting when Timlin comes off the DL this week – but honestly, I’m not sure what to expect. The non-setup/closer relief on virtually every club, contenders included, is suspect. They pitch low leverage innings for a reason, after all.

In all likelihood, we’ll be dealing for relief help in addition. Whether that’s a Crisp in the short term or kids in the longer term is unclear at this point. The direction we take will depend, obviously, on the performances of the current major league staff, but also potential contributors from the minors. Speaking of, Masterson allowed> 3 hits (2 infield singles) and no runs to go along with 7K’s and 0BB’s in 4 IP for Portland.

Besides the bad news, there are a great number of positives to take away. Drew looks good swinging the bat, Tek has recovered as expected, and the starters have generally been excellent to solid. Lester and Matsuzaka, as discussed, were both outstanding. Wake pitched very well, Buchholz tossed out an acceptable start, and Beckett – fresh off the DL – threw very well until the last inning when he was betrayed by Delcarmen.

As an aside on Delcarmen, count me among those who’s skeptical of the “relief ace” tag many have been applying to him this past offseason. He throws hard, without question, but his location is often poor and his fastball is pin-straight. I like him in the bullpen mix, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not sold on him becoming a Tier 1 setup man.

But back to our pitching in general; you may be unimpressed with our offense, which has managed a relatively pathetic .242/.308/.372 thus far, but our staff – the bullpen implosions aside – has held our opponents to the following .228/.320/.363.

If pitching and defense win games, then, we should be ok. Well, except for the defense, which thanks to Casey, Lugo and even Lowell has been less than stellar. But that’s transient, in my opinion.

But anyway, I’m not telling you not to be upset. I’m not even telling you not to be angry. But I am telling you not to panic. 3-4 is way to early for that. 3-5, maybe, but not 3-4.

Let’s see what the kids can do at home.


5 thoughts on “The Sky is Not Falling

  1. I expected them to be 4-3 or maybe if all fell right 5-2. So they are a game back of where I expected. That's easy to make up.

  2. @Tim: precisely. not that i want to get to this point, but the Yankees were 21-29 to open last season, so it could definitely be worse. hell, just look at the Tigers, who i expect will be fine over the long haul.

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