Now that May is here, it is time for the April Sox recap...
We'll begin with the starting pitching.
Schilling: Off to a great start. Despite the one rocky outing against the Royals, he's been all that he claimed he would be.
Beckett: What else can you say about this kid? Everyone in camp said that he would be lights out, and he's been nothing short of it.
Daisuke: He's been very good. He's prone to one bad inning per start where he throws a ton of pitches. He's got to get past that...and a little more run support wouldn't hurt either.
Wakefield: Off to a phenomenal start.
Tavarez: Objectively looking at Tavarez, he could be a serviceable fifth starter for the year. The defense hasn't been very good behind him, and he has a tendency to get himself into trouble with walks. But he gets a lot of double plays...With some better fielding, he'll be fine.
Lugo- Decent start. Hope his average comes up (and it seems to be), but he runs the bases well, and has a wide range at short.
Youk- Doing everything he's supposed to do.
Manny- Hopefully, his last day in NY is a sign that he is heating up. Very slow start. Lots of weak grounders.
Drew- I have to give this one to X. The guy is good.
Lowell- WAY better than I expected. In fact, he's better than last year and I look forward to watching him hit...Despite his errors, the guy is a vacuum at third. Some of the errors, really should have been ruled hits.
Varitek/Mirabelli- Not too bad, not too good. Mirabelli has been a surprise. Tek is striking out a lot.
Crisp- I am happy with him. I wish he'd be a little more patient at the plate. Too many weak pop-ups and grounders...
Pedroia- Weakest spot on the team. He flies out a lot to right field. He does work the count, but a sub-200 average is tough to stomach.
Bench: Wily Mo...a home run now and then doesn't make up for a ton of strikeouts...a disaster in the field. I think they are hoping for a hot streak so he might become a trade commodity.
Hinkse- Shouldn't play first base. Incredibly slow first step so grounders are by him in a hurry. I like him off the bench, though.
Cora- A professional's professional. Does whatever needs to be done.
Not too many weak links out there. I am a little concerned that Papelbon and Okajima will tire out if they pitch so much. Donnelley should get more innings. Timlin is not good...Snyder is being limited, which is also good.
Piniero and Romero? What can you say about them? They aren't a problem, and they probably won't be used too much. I would almost say that you should trade one of them and let Delcarmen pitch in the majors again...there are enough arms out there to save him if needed.
This team is in good shape. Plenty of starting pitching (and Lester seems ready), good bullpen, great closer and setup man. The lineup has days where they are completely shut down, but those seem few and not too worrisome at the moment. Add Manny's bat to the mix, and scoring runs won't be a problem. They will probably look to add another bat at some point, and perhaps another bullpen arm. Now, as opposed to the recent past, it seems like they have a lot of potential chips with which to trade.
This team is 16-8 and playing like it. They are heading in to a tough stretch, so let's see what happens. I am not granting them the crown, yet. There's a ton of baseball to be played. If they can keep the pitching staff healthy, they are in great shape...