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The Red Sox have played seven games so far, approximately 4% of the season, so it’s time to look at the facts and reach some conclusions. I’ll do the math, so all you’ll have to do is call up the talk radio shows and complain, because things are ugly and are on pace to stay that way.
The Red Sox are 3-4 so far at the time of this writing, which means that if they continue at their current rate, they’ll finish the season with a 70-92 record. Time to panic? It’s obviously WAY past time to panic. It’s time to totally freak out and demand trades, firings, benchings and big changes.
There have been a few bright spots for the team. Dustin Pedroia is on pace to hit 69 home runs this year, which I believe would better his career high. He’s also on pace to drive in 184 runs, which will be a nice total.
The Red Sox currently have seven batters hitting .300 or more, led by Jason Varitek’s .500 average. If he just continues to hit at the same rate, Varitek will hit .500 with 46 home runs this year, while only starting 23 games, which would rank as one of the most solid seasons for any backup catcher in recent years.
Several pitchers have done well so far for the Sox, including John Lackey, who if he can maintain his current pace, will finish the year with a 0.00 ERA. Hopefully he’ll be able to keep up that kind of pitching, and not fall off in effectiveness and disappoint us all.
Boston should have a trio of 20-game winners this year, as Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz and Hideki Okajima are all on pace to win 23 games. Unfortunately, Okajima is also on pace to lose 23 games this year.
Beckett’s ERA has soared to 6.57 this season, after he signed his big contract extension. But even worse has been Jon Lester, who, if he maintains his current level of pitching, will finish the season with an 0-23 record and an atrocious ERA of 7.20. Numbers don’t lie, so it clearly seems to be time for the Red Sox to cut their losses and trade Lester for whatever they can get for him.
The offensive disappointments this year include JD Drew and his .182 batting average and .217 on-base percentage, and David Ortiz, who, unless he can turn things around, will finish the year with a .136 batting average, zero home runs, and a major league-record 253 strikeouts.
Obviously no team would touch Ortiz, but perhaps Drew, Lester and Beckett could be packaged in a trade for Toronto’s Vernon Wells, who will finish the year with a league-leading 115 home runs this year, if he avoids slumps and maintains his current rate.
Other trade targets: Carl Pavano of the Twins, who will finish the season with a record of 46-0 this year, barring any setbacks from his current pace; or Martin Prado of Atlanta, who leads all of baseball with his .519 batting average.
At any rate, it’s clear that the fourth-place Red Sox are in deep trouble. If things don’t change for the better, they’ll end up 57 games behind the division leading Toronto Blue Jays, who are currently on pace to win 127 games this year, as are the Twins, A’s and Tigers.
But Boston is also chasing the Yankees and Tampa. Unless they can improve, the Red Sox will end up 46 games behind the Yankees, and 31 games behind third-place Tampa.
Buried in fourth place, 57 games out of first place is unacceptable for a team with Boston’s payroll and expectations, and it’s past time for them to take action. Because if things continue as they have so far this season, the Red Sox will be mathematically eliminated from the pennant race sometime in August.
Is it too late to fix their many huge problems, with only 96% of the season remaining? Most likely it is. After two more games in Minnesota against the dominating Twins, tied for the best record in the league, Boston next plays four games against Tampa, who are on pace to win 101 games this season.
With that tough upcoming schedule, if things remain as they have so far this year, by this time next week, the Red Sox could well be on pace to finish last, more than 60 games behind Toronto.
A team with a losing record, horrible performances, out of the pennant race early, and eliminated by August? Fans with good seats to Red Sox home games might as well sell them now for whatever they can get for them, before it’s too late.
Anyone who wishes to sell their box seat tickets for $10 each should contact me via this Web site, and I’ll take them off your hands for you, as a favor to the loyal readers of SportsOfBoston.com. Sell now before it’s too late, because the numbers don’t lie.