Red Sox still have time to solve problems

By Gary Thorne, Special to the News
Posted May 06, 2011, at 7:46 p.m.

By the end of May, the Red Sox and their fans can make real assessments. One thing is for certain, this is no longer a “this is early” thing.

The saving grace for Boston’s disappointing start is that other AL East teams are experiencing the same thing.  Nobody is running away in the East.

In fact, one has to get out of the way of boulders ricocheting down the hill in the AL East, save for the turnaround for the Rays.

The Angel morning affair this week is just another chapter in the “it can’t get worse” season for the Red Sox.

Not only did they lose that 13-inning game, the next day the 11-0 win by the Angels was the most runs in a shutout by the Angels against the Red Sox.

The Sox seek that .500 mark from which to build on, but it won’t come. They had a chance in game 22 to reach that mark and lost 4-1 to the Orioles.

They had a chance to be even against the Angels in game 30 and then came the 5-3 loss in the exhausting night-day game.

It can take a week or more to recover from that game. The pitching plans were shattered, everyone is exhausted and the lingering taste of the loss lingers.

For John Lackey, the start is as bad personally as it is for his team

His 7.16 ERA is the sixth highest for any starter with five or more starts this year. That has to get better.

Then one comes back to the AL East where the struggles predominate.

The Yankees are feeling their age. The issue of Derek Jeter and his subpar play dominates the news in New York.

Alex Rodriguez is in a hitting funk after a sizzling start. The Yankees do not have the depth to cover these downturns. Are they a sign of the times or just the normal slump?

Tampa Bay started 1-8 and has since gone 16-6. The loss of Manny Ramirez was their gain, and Johnny Damon is not only playing well for them but providing the experienced leadership that rights a ship in troubled waters.

Toronto and Baltimore are both seeking  to reach the .500 mark while working around injuries and inconsistencies on the mound and at the plate.

All in all, the AL East is a hodgepodge in the first six weeks. That is to the advantage of the teams with the talent, Boston and New York certainly being at the top of that food chain.

There is plenty of time for the Sox, who have played only 12 games in the division. Dustin Pedroia and Carl Crawford will be better.

The catching conundrum will be worked out, probably with a deal. The bullpen is a serious problem, and the callups of Scott Atcheson and Rich Hill are not just to fill spots. They need to perform.

There’s plenty of time.

What is to be remembered is that the rest of the teams in the AL East are saying the same thing.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/05/06/sports/red-sox-still-have-time-to-solve-problems/ printed on July 23, 2014