After starting the season 20-8 the Red Sox have hit a bit of a wall and have dropped 9 out of their last 12 games. Now it was shocking to everyone with the start the Sox had, and nobody expected them to keep it up. With that said, they are not the team who is 5-9 in the month of May. After their series with Toronto to start the month, the Sox got swept by the Texas Rangers. That series brought them back to earth, and maybe even put them in a slump. The biggest part of this is the fact that they lost 3 out of 4 to the Minnesota Twins. The Twins who do have a couple good players are not a great team in the AL, and the Red Sox should have been able to win that series pretty easily.
The team as a whole has slowed down, and the injuries to the back end of the bullpen haven’t helped either. Joel Hanrahan has been pretty much a disaster all year, and it might be a blessing in disguise with him going to the 60-day DL, but losing Andrew Bailey who was pitching really well in the closer role is a big loss. Bailey is set to throw a simulated game today (Thursday) and will be re-evaluated. If the Sox can get him back, that will be a big boost for a struggling bullpen. The back end of the rotation needs to pick it up as well. Lester and Buccholz have done everything they need to this season so far, Dempster has been strong considering his age and what people expected, but they have to figure out the back end of the rotation if they want to be a true contender this season.
The offense has slowed down as well. I know everyone wants to blame Dan Shaughnessy for David Ortiz coming back to earth after his start to the season. Though Ortiz said he had a sore oblique muscle the last couple weeks which would explain his slump. Ortiz has still been hitting the ball well though. There are a couple other players on this team that really need to pick up their offensive game if they expect the team to go far. Will Middlebrooks is probably the biggest disappointment so far. For a guy who was hitting in .288, hitting for power, and driving in runs last season, he has had trouble consistently hitting the ball. Since he hit his 3 home runs in Toronto, he has fallen off the bus. Middlebrooks is hitting .208 on the season right now and needs to pick it up for his sake and for the Red Sox. I still believe in him though, he is young and has the potential to turn it around. Like Tyler Seguin we are all waiting and hoping.
Nobody expected the Red Sox to be the best team in the league this year, but many expected them to compete. It is a long baseball season and almost every team goes through stretches where they can’t win consistently. I think this slump is one of those. Once they get a bit healthier and get into the summer, this team will be right in it. They are definitely in the conversation for winning the division, which would be huge coming off a season where they went 69-93. It is a little worrisome the way they have played in May, but it is not time to panic yet.
About the Author: I am a Freelance Production Assistant for Comcast Sportsnet and former New York Rangers intern. I am an enthusiast of all sports and want to share my knowledge with those who are interested in reading what I have to say. Follow me on Twitter @ shmity91
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