So, this is not exactly what the Red Sox expected when they shelled out nearly $300 million over the next seven years to land the two top free agents on the market last winter. Neither Carl Crawford nor Adrian Gonzalez got a hit in Thursday’s 1-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians. In fact, the Sox mustered just four hits as a team and suffered the ignominy of having the game end with pinch runner Darnell McDonald getting thrown out at second after taking too big a turn around the bag.
So, the consensus pick to win the World Series limps back home lugging an 0-6 record into Friday’s home opener against the New York Yankees. The Sox are off to their worst start since 1945. If it’s not ugly enough yet, just imagine what it’ll be like if the Sox’ season-opening slide reaches seven games or more against the hated Yankees.
“The best offense in baseball” includes eight regulars hitting .231 or less, including a catcher (Jarrod Saltalamacchia, .071) and third baseman (Kevin Youkilis, .105) that have looked badly overmatched against even the most pedestrian of pitchers. Gonzalez (.304) is the only batter even approaching a respectable average, and Crawford, the $142 Million Man, is clearly wilting in the spotlight. Playing in a large market can be trying enough; hitting .174 with six strikeouts through the season’s first six games just makes the glare that much more blinding.
Boston has been outscored 38-16 over the first six games and the Sox’ staff ERA is sitting at 8.33. Yikes.
After suffering through 86 years of misery, winning two titles in seven years has changed the perspective and expectations of both the team and its fans. Is it time to panic yet? Of course not. But is there reason for concern? Absolutely.
With the most potent lineup in baseball and one of the top two or three rotations in the game, no one could have envisioned Boston getting off to such a difficult start. But, c’mon, we’re less than 4 percent of the way into a 162-game schedule. Things are bound to turn around, right? Beginning Friday, when John Lackey takes the ball …
OK, maybe Saturday.