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2012 was a nightmare year for the Red Sox. They were mediocre until the Nick Punto Trade. After the trade that freed up all that money for the future, they were downright horrible.

2013 was in incredible surprise. I thought they would be good, but not World Series Champion good until about August. The hopes of Red Sox Nation were restored. The new model seemed to pay off: no long term contracts, overpay if you need to to do it.

Then came the off season. I will admit, I thought they would be better than they have been. But it seems that Ben over-played his hand. There was too much change. I saw recently that most World Series Champions experience about 20% roster change. The question is, what 20% should change. In 2004 they lost Pedro and Damon. Those were very big pieces to lose. In 2005 they were good but were quickly dumped from the playoffs from the eventual World Series Champion White Sox.

They seemed to learn the lesson. After the 2007 championship, they held on to Mike Lowell who was their primary free agent. It would be a mistake as his hips betrayed him. It nearly paid off as they got all the way to game 7 of the ALCS. All they needed was either a healthy Lowell or Beckett to return to the World Series.

After the victory in 2013 they had some difficult decisions to make as Ellsbury, Napoli, Drew and Saltalamacchia were free agents. All of them were key starters. They made reasonable attempts to retain Napoli and Drew. They made a feeble attempt to retain Ellsbury. Who knows, if they made a real offer during the exclusive negotiation period he might not have gone to the Yankees. I would not pay him what they paid him, but I certainly would have offered him more than they did. They decided to move on from Salty.

The reasons for both were the development of prospects at short (Bogaerts), center (Bradley) and catcher (Vazquez and Swihart). The result was that they had a new catcher to buy time for the prospects, an inexperienced left side of the infield in Middlebrooks and Bogaerts and an inexperienced centerfielder. They also took a gamble on a rebuilt Grady Sizemore who looked very promising in Spring Training but created a log jam in the outfield.

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Heading into this season, many people were worried about the Red Sox offense.  I was not one of them.  While watching the game on ESPN, I decided to see how they were doing with 19 games left in the season.

Runs Scored- 757, 3rd in baseball.  The Yankees have an amazing 838.

Hits- 1309 for 10th in baseball.  Not impressive, but you see they haven’t wasted hits, but have been productive.  The Yankees & Angels remained 1st & 2nd.  So 7 teams had more hits and fewer runs than the Red Sox.

OPS- .804 second only to … the Yankees.

HR-186 for 4th behind …. the Yankees, Rangers and Phillies.

Hits- 2223 for 3rd behind the Yankees & Rangers.  The Phillies had 2222.

BA- .268 for 8th in baseball.  Proof, again, that while their hitting hasn’t been great, it has been productive.

In other words, the offense did what it is supposed to do- score runs.

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The season opened with so much promise.  Suddenly the Red Sox were 2-6, getting slapped around on the West Coast.  And now their depth has evaporated.

  • Lugo and Kotsay began the season on the DL.
  • Lowrie’s wrist injury returned.  He’s on the DL and may need surgery.
  • Dice-K is on the DL with shoulder fatigue, well before Smoltz is available.

But it isn’t just injuries.

  • Big Papi is doing nothing to alleviate the fears of Red Sox Nation.  I’m ready to consider sitting him for a game or two to see how Chris Carter does.  Maybe he can help generate some offense.
  • Ellsbury and Pedroia are also hitting under .200 so far.
  • Lester and Dice-K have had 2 lousy starts apiece instead of looking like Cy Young candidates.  Dice-K’s one inning wonder put an incredible strain on the bull pen, which was already working too much with the problem with the other starters.

They really needed Wakefield, the old guy, to go deep into the game.  He did, going the distance.  He carried a no-hitter into the 8th and gave up 2 runs.  But the middle of the order finally produced today- 8 runs worth.

Just one game, but maybe it will restart their hopes and help them turn the corner in their first big slump, which has lasted the whole short season.

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