The Red Sox head off to Toronto tonight, and I have to admit being less than enthused. Firstly, I won't get to watch, and I always enjoy watching Beckett pitch, even when it's in Rogers Centre.
But more than anything, this team is not what I expected as a fan. Now, hear me out, because this isn't going to be a whiny, "Go out and pay too much for Adrian Gonzalez/Prince Fielder/Hanley Ramirez/MC Hammer" rant, but a story of polite bewilderment.
This team is better than they are playing. Yes, the injuries are hurting them early (a hernia and cracked ribs? Seriously?), but the Sox of years' past made it past those difficulties - hell, last year's version had Nick Green, the third shortstop on the depth chart, starting 74 games (but the man did have a 0.00 ERA).
Something's gotta give. One home run notwithstanding, David Ortiz is struggling, and JD Drew is positively anemic - even his generally rock-solid OBP is under par. The defense is making stupid mistakes, and the bullpen is downright laughable. No offense to Baltimore, but when the Red Sox have provided a third of their wins thus far, we have a problem.
I don't know what the answer is, and I suspect the players and coaches are just as confused; it seems like the Sox are hardly showing up for some games, and that's way more worrisome than a few slumping sluggers. Maybe Daisuke Matsuzaka's impending return to the rotation will help (did I really just write that?), or perhaps Tim Wakefield's veteran presence will jumpstart the bullpen.
And if not? If all is really lost, and the alarmists are right? Well, I'll be able to get into Fenway a lot more this summer... And you know what else? Last time the Red Sox missed the playoffs (2006, for the newbies), they won the World Series the following year. If that's the tradeoff, count me in.