April is over kiddies. It was a fun month. In recent years I’ve realized how much April really doesn’t matter. April is like pre-season games that actually wind up on your W-L record. Nobody is “out” yet, even if your team is struggling. Let’s look at what happened in April, good points, bad points, and what it could mean for the rest of the season.
We opened the season in JAPAN! We went 3-1 with the A’s on that road trip before getting swept by the Jays. Fatigue, jetlag, whatever you want to say happened there, the Jays outplayed us. Thats going to happen sometimes because news flash, Baltimore, Tampa and Toronto aren’t the pushovers they have been. No, I don’t expect any of them to make the playoffs, but they will make it closer. If the Yankees or Sox falter a little, you could see one of these teams finish 2nd.
The Sox may not be in first, but we are damn close, and standings sure as hell don’t matter yet. I saw so many things this April that made me extremely excited about our team.
We bounced back from the Jays sweep by winning 12 of 14, including an 10-1 stretch. We battled the flu and still were able to churn out some W’s. We were bested by Tampa bay on a tough trip down there, getting swept by them for the first time ever in a 3 game series, and sending a losing streak to 5 games, longer than any in 2007. Well… It had to happen sooner or later. On the upside, 2 of those losses are wins 90% of the time. You give me a 1 hitter into the 8th, and tell me we only allow 2 runs? Thats a win most of the time. A career high 13 K’s for Beckett? Win most of the time.
How about 6 players batting above .290? Papi had his little slump, and yet both him and Manny have 20+ RBI, keeping them on pace for 120ish on the season. We have… wait a minute… that cant be right… TWENTY stolen bases on the year. Twenty.
Strikeouts seem to be a bit of an issue (186), but I think for the most part those will drop at least a little as players get into the season more and start seeing the ball better.
Matsuzaka seems to be getting a handle on this USA baseball thing, as we have won in all of his starts. You can whine about large pitch counts all you want ESPN, but I like this guy and I think he is going to be a fantastic #2 guy for us all year and for many more years to come.
Beckett missed a few starts, and I think it’s no big deal. I think it’s really just part of this team’s newer philosophy of making sure guys get rest and stay healthy, especially early in the year. It’s a long season, and Francona knows that. He wont let his guys hurt themselves. Beckett has shown signs of brilliance and dominance. Love this guy.
Wakefield is Wakefield. You should know how I feel about him by now, as I constantly am praising him. He will do his thing.
There’s been concern about Lester and Buchholz not going late enough in to games. I say whatever. Again, it’s just April folks. They have had some good outings and have in fact gone longer into games when the situation warrants it. They are growing well and we are going to have a banging pitching staff come October.
We have EIGHT wins where we came from behind in our last at bat, including the two recent walk offs at Fenway.
This team is strong, and built for the long haul. This team can be dominant and has the talent to win the big games. I see no reason why we can’t win another Division title and make some noise in the playoffs.
May brings us the AL Central as we get series with the Tigers, Twins, and Royals. Throw in a few division games with Baltimore and an early interleague series with the Brewers and we’ve got ourselves a month!
Baseball has truly arrived.