Tuesday, May 11, 2010

State of the Sox: Bridge to Nowhere?

It is May 11. I'm smack in the middle of finals week (hence the long absence - sorry!), but I can't focus on the philosophical leanings of fictional Russians, or make convoluted connections between the GI Bill and John Coltrane. All I can think of is the State of the Sox.

Gone is the wonderful month of April, when all bad performances can be brushed away with the simple phrase, "Relax, it's early." Well, it's no longer early, and the Sox have been at or below .500 for the majority of the season. What gives? Was the "bridge" year that Theo spoke of in the offseason baseball's version of the bridge to nowhere?

At this point in the season, the game-by-game, analyze everything approach taken by fans in the first weeks has mostly dissipated. Not so this year: after the four-game sweep of the Angels, we were playoff material; two games lost to the Yankees later, and we were destined to finish below the lowly Orioles.

So what's the issue? In a word, it's injuries. The Red Sox have played a scant 6 games with their Startin Day outfield, as both Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury have been out for nearly a month with unforeseeable injuries. I mean, come on: cracked ribs, kidney stones, and a sports hernia? Lady Luck is not on our side so far. As for the struggling defense, please leave Bill Hall alone - he was never meant to start in center field, and Adrian Beltre, though error prone thus far, traditionally improves over the course of a season.

The lineup seems to be hitting its stride - thank god for Marco Scutaro's ability to hit leadoff, eh?

And his ability to do awesome things like this...

At this point, the season could go either way... I wouldn't be surprised if the Red Sox won it all. But I would be equally unsurprised if they missed the playoffs. If you can say anything for this team, it's unique. I'm excited to see how things turn out - they play 162 for a reason.

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