Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena greet each other at home plate. (AP Photo)
Patriot's Day in Boston. A day locals argue as being the best holiday of the year in the Hub. It's a holiday reserved for the city of Boston, and is one us residents cherish with food, drink, & the companionship of friends and family. Commemorating the first battles of the Revolutionary War at Lexington and Concord, we also garnish this day with our greatest love of all, and that's with the conflict of sport.
The Boston Marathon begins the day 26.2 miles outside of the city in the quaint village of Hopkinton, to be followed an hour later with a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. The traditional 11:05am start is the earliest of the year in all of Major League Baseball, and makes for a festive atmosphere around Kenmore Square, as both events spill into each other in the chilly April afternoon air. The day is traditionally a jovial one, however - the crowd at Fenway was anything but friendly yesterday, as the sliding Sox continued their downward trend. It was the first game of the year I was able to attend, as it's become the De facto Opening Day for both my friends and I. It started off as good as ever, with some hearty breakfast and drinks at the House of Blues Foundation Room, thanks in part to the fine folks and friends over at G2 Technology Group.Ted Williams' famous red seat. That unfortunately ended up being the highlight of my Fenway experience, as the wheels fell off for the Sox, and fell off quickly, in large part to John Lackey's ineptitude on the mound.
The Red Sox team ERA is now an inflated 4.58 which ranks them 12th out of the 14 teams in the AL. So much for that run prevention huh? April's been a bloody month for our hurlers, and they've shown none of the guile the true Patriots held 235 years ago against the British. Checking back in with our "big three", their collective ERA's have risen from 4.46 last week, to their current standing of 5.98:
- Beckett - 3.86
- Lackey - 5.63
- Lester - 8.44
The Red Sox current run differential is then not surprisingly at -19, which gives them the second worst run differential in the AL (13th out of 14), behind just the lowly Baltimore Orioles (-30) in that department. After only scoring 15 runs in the past seven days (50 total on the season) - the Red Sox now rank 11th in the AL in runs scored. Simply put, these $160 million dollar Red Sox are close to leading the league.....in all the wrong categories.
You hope it's just a case of it being early and them being a team trying to find their identity. But we already went through uninspired mediocre regular seasons by the Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins, and much like I feared, it looks like the Sox are falling into suit. The Bruins were thankfully able to save Patriots Day from complete despair with a gutsy and inspiring win over the Sabers, and you hope the KG-less Celtics can do the same tonight in the Garden. Both the Celtics and Bruins seemed to have found their swerve and fire very late in the season (the Celtics may have literally waited until the Playoffs), I'm scared that if the Sox don't gain a sense of urgency soon though, they won't be able to rely on finding it come September and October because of the level of competition now in the AL East.
We have to remember though, that much like Patriots Day, the Season is a marathon and not a sprint, but if you cramp up too much early on in the season/race, the Finish Line ends up being a formality - with your goals and expectations thrown out the window. I'm in no way throwing in the towel on April, 20th - however, the Red Sox have to start giving me some reasons to believe they can compete in this race.