This has happened twice as often as the other thing so far (RLRS Photo).
Three series into the season the Sox are a rosy shade of Red at 6-3. The words “small,” “sample” and “size” are being thrown around pretty liberally.
But have we learned anything yet? Alex Speier noted that the Sox are 14th in the AL in runs allowed and that last year the bottom four teams in runs allowed finished as the bottom four at the end of the season.
So what do we think we know so far? I have a few observations;
Runs are coming thick and fast despite a slow start from the bearded one (RLRS Photo).
The Lineup – This team is going to score a bunch of runs. There is a temptation to say the Sox have feasted on lesser teams but that is not fair. Of their first nine games they have faced Cole Hamels, Masahiro Tanaka, Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez.
The simple truth is that the Sox have battered some good pitchers.
The Rotation – Right now I do not feel any differently about the rotation than I did two weeks ago. I still have no faith in Wade Miley, I still find Clay Buchholz exasperating and I am still pleased with the Rick Porcello deal.
If you want to see the positives you can focus on the second in the AL five quality starts or you can see the negatives and the 6.16 starter ERA. I expect some of that to even out but in the end if the Sox can stay middle of the pack in quality starts that is more important than overall ERA.
In 2014 the Sox were last in cheap wins (wins without a quality start) and 11th in tough losses (losses with a quality start). Neither of those flaws is likely to exist with this offense.
Hanley Ramirez – Hanley looks both better and worse than I anticipated. I knew he could hit but I cannot get over just how good he looks. The comparisons to Manny Ramirez are easy on so many levels but they have been earned. He looks the part at the plate.
In the field…I would pay for him to be as good as Manny. It is not that he is particularly poor but how bad he looks in the process. He is unbelievably tentative out there and I know he is a big leaguer but for my sanity it would be nice if he would use two hands.
Xander is doing it in the field too (RLRS Photo).
Xander Bogaerts – Everyone is flipping out about Mookie but Xander has really impressed. His agility was vital in the 19 inning win with a key stolen base and a couple of clutch defensive plays. The four walks against five strikeouts are an extremely positive sign as well. It remains my opinion that this is the young player with the highest upside on the club.
Mookie Betts – Deep breaths everyone…deep breaths. He is hitting just .225/.273/.425 so far and has been exposed by those down and away sliders that flummoxed Bogaerts last year.
But that is just a blip. He certainly looks like he will be a star. His defense has gone from being a question mark to potentially being well above average and on the bases he runs with a nearly reckless abandon that I think even Jacoby Ellsbury never had. While I expect Bogaerts to be the better player it is Betts who has the duende to own this town someday.