By Brian Maloney and Matt Noonan
Noontime Sports was indeed watching the Boston Red Sox – Texas Rangers series and after digesting three painful outings, both Brian Maloney and Matt Noonan felt it was necessary to answer a few questions from what was on display.
Being a part of Red Sox Nation, fans know how susceptible people are to overreaction. While the Boston Red Sox began their season with three straight loses to the Texas Rangers, there is the general consensus that the sky is falling, but really, is it?
Well, realistically the season is far from over and with 159-games remaining and with a brand new series against the Cleveland Indians beginning Tuesday, here are just a few reason why all Bostonians, New Englanders shouldn’t get concerned or worried just yet.
Adrian Gonzalez is the “real deal:”
Brian Maloney: I think we’ll take three RBIs in three games. He struck out twice, which is huge for a middle of the lineup bat.
Matt Noonan: I was rather surprised with Gonzalez’s performance. I thought he would have struggled, but how about his stolen base too, Brian? Certainly, he will be fun to watch all season, but when will Carl Crawford pick up a bat and copy Gonzalez’s swing?
Should fans be concerned about Carl Crawford’s weekend performance:
BM: Crawford is a career [.296] hitter and it’s ignorant to think that his [2-12] start means anything. Sample size means everything and twelve at bats do not make a season. Although, the market probably forced the Sox to pay more for him than what he was actually worth, so people are already seeing another J.D. Drew situation begin, but again, he will hit and run, so just give him time to find his swing.
MN: Couldn’t agree more, Brian, but again, it is only three games, so it is rather hard to tell what kind of impact he will have on the team come July, August and September. I do agree that the Sox may have dished out too much money for this guy, but hey, let’s hope he doesn’t take a page out of Shaquille O’Neal’s book. The “Big Shamrock” ended up getting hurt and just doing a bunch of celebrity appearances around town, but for all those Crawford fans, just know, he’ll be fine and eventually produce at the plate.
Jon Lester always starts slow:
BM: April has always been a bad month for Lester. His ERA is almost a run and a half higher in March and April, compared to his other career numbers, [4.95 vs. 3.58]. He is the “Ace of the team” and will slowly transition into “hero mode,” just watch!
MN: Brian, why are we so concerned about Lester? Similar to Crawford, he will be fine. Yes, Lester always starts slow and while we both ponder his unusual play during the early part of the season, let’s just admit that he’s still on pace to win 20-games, so again, let’s not worry because the lefty will snap out of his funk sooner or later. I also think that John Lackey and Clay Buchholz will follow in his footsteps, but again, while those are bold predictions on my end, let’s just sit back and watch Lester bounce back in his next outing.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia can hit:
BM: Ok, his career numbers don’t really support my theory, but trust me. This kid can hit. He has “plus-plus” power and a fairly good eye, but also, he can produce from both sides of the dish, which is something the Red Sox will need out of him. If the Red Sox can bring out his potential or even most of it, the Nation will be ecstatic with Salty behind the dish until one of our prospects is ready for the big time.
MN: This guy has not been impressive, but certainly, he does remind you of Dustin Pedroia, who began his big league career incredibly slow, but then took off toward the end of the season. Remember when Pedroia hit that towering home run over the Green Monster during game seven of the American League Championship Series against the Cleveland Indians? Similar to Pedroia, I sure hope we can watch a similar story, but while his defense isn’t bad, it’s just his hitting that needs to improve.
How good are the Texas Rangers:
BM: They are indeed the reigning American League champions. It’s not like Boston was swept by Kansas City, but instead, by a team that could certainly win the AL West. Their trio of starters that the Sox faced included, C.J. Wilson, Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis, who aren’t that bad, but also, let’s not forget to Neftali Feliz, who is a valuable member of their bullpen. The Rangers offense is quite impressive too, especially when a team has Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler.
MN: Texas is indeed coming off their World Series high, but it is too early to hand them the division crown. Let’s not forget about Oakland, a team that surely has potential. Also, whatever happened to Los Angles of Anaheim, weren’t they usually a lights out team? I completely respect your thoughts, but after only watching three games this season and yes, all three being Red Sox vs. Rangers, I cannot hand them the title just yet.