The 2016 Red Sox have only played five games, but it's never too early to overreact and attempt to analyze this team. Even after only a handful of games, it's safe to say that most Red Sox fans know how this team operates, and what they need to do in order to compete in September and more importantly October.
After waiting an extra day for the season to start, thanks to poor planning by the MLB, the Sox season finally got underway, and it could not have gone better. The Sox beat the Indians 6-2 and it was exactly how they wrote it up in the offseason.
Aside from a bumpy 4th inning, David Price threw a fantastic game, going 6 innings, giving up 5 hits and 2 earned runs, along with 10 strikeouts. Next came what we all hoped would be a deadly bullpen, and that's exactly what it was. Tazawa, Uehara and finally Kimbrel. The three combined to pitch 3 innings, giving up 0 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk and 5 strikeouts.
Although it was another last place finish for the Red Sox last year, their offense was far from the problem with that team. They finished with 748 runs scored, which was good for 4th in the league behind the Rangers, Yankees and Blue Jays.
Even with Ortiz starting this season at 40-years-old, this offense has picked up right where they left off last year. In multiple games, the rotation has gotten out to a rough start, but the offense has been there to back them up. With 28 runs scored in only 4 games, the Red Sox are averaging 7 runs a game. Between Kluber, Carrasco and Stroman, the 3 average a 6.45 ERA, which is a very good sign for this offense.
David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez have turned out to be a deadly 1-2 punch so far this season, having already hit back-to-back ding dongs. The two also combined for the tying and winning runs against Toronto in their 8-7 victory.
Hanley playing first base was another controversial situation heading into the season, after his disastrous effort in left field in 2015. However, he showed up to Spring Training early, in shape and ready to work, and it has paid off. Aside from a few minor mistakes, Hanley has been nothing but solid at first. The mistakes he is making now, like missing cuts from the outfield, will improve with time, if he is willing to put in the effort for a full season. With Hanley, that is a big "if".
7-8 runs a game is fun to watch and be apart of, but we all know they can't win like that every time David Price is not on the mound. Buchholz needed only 1 inning to show us that he wasn't ready, after giving up 4 runs in the bottom half of the 1st against the Indians. A game in which the Red Sox offense was able to make the game interesting, but would ultimately be their first loss of the season.
Joe Kelly and Rick Porcello both had roller coaster seasons last year, ranging from unwatchable to lights out. Heading into this season, most fans weren't sure what to expect from the 2 starters. Like Buchholz, Kelly wasted no time in helping out the opposition giving up a run in the 1st inning. In the 4th, which I'm now convinced is cursed for the Red Sox, Kelly would give up 6 more runs and was eventually pulled. The Baseball Gods were on his side that day, because with the help of a Brock Holt grand slam, the offense was able to pull off the 8-7 comeback win.
Rick Porcello had a very good start if he could just take one player out of the equation. Jose Bautista went 2-3 against him with 2 homeruns and all 4 of the Blue Jays' RBIs. Aside from Bautista, the Jays only managed 5 hits and struck out 7 times. Maybe there is hope for the $20 million dollar right hander.
Heading into the season with John Farrell as the manager was already a slippery slope, even before the Jessica Moran story broke. He has made quite a stir around Boston, putting Pablo Sandoval and Rusney Castillo on the bench, with Travis Shaw at third and Brock Holt in left.
With Farrell's job on the line, there is no doubt that every single move he makes this season will be severely scrutinized. The first questionable move this season came when the Indians game was postponed a second time, and it was announced that Price would be the starter for the home opener. Many saw this as a controversial decision because it makes more sense to see Price throw against a strong Blue Jays lineup. Instead, we saw the knuckleballer, Steven Wright. With the postponed game, Price would have ample rest if he were to have started against Toronto. The move seems a bit contradictory after Farrell said he wants to get Price on the mound as much as possible.
Flying under the radar with a very solid start is Dustin Pedroia. After playing in only 93 games last year, hopefully Pedroia can keep it going and have a nice bounce back season in 2016.
With a 3-2 start, things are looking good so far for the 2016 Red Sox. That being said, they also got off to a 6-2 start last year, and we all know how that ended up. While it is far too early to tell what this team will be come fall, with new faces such as Dave Dombrowski at the helm, it's hard to feel they will end up with another last place finish. Dombrowski is infamous for trading away key pieces that can sometimes be painful for the fans, but if he gets the right pieces in return, I'm on board.
By Matt Watts