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Division Dogs: Not My Prediction For The 2009 Season

By: Ira H. Perkins IV

Alright we are seven games into the 2009 season and have a record of 2-5, am I concerned? Of course not! Like I said we're only seven games into a new season. I'll be whistling a different tune if by the end of June we have a winning percentage that looks like the first two weeks. I am not one to make excuses for our boys, I feel they're better than that. Still we have to consider two things. One it's April and two no one could have seen Toronto, Baltimore and to some degree Tampa Bay starting off so hot... and I think I heard an expert say the AL Central has the most complete division. I am not so easily convinced.

I've seen the Sox play a lot better then where they are now and I have also seen them play far worse. Initially I am surprised by the level of play that our pitching staff has been playing. They appear to be having difficulty locating pitches and getting certain pitches to move when they need to move and as a whole putting away hitters. Again it's early and I think "Eck" said it best during NESN's Extra Innings when he mentioned that you don't ever rate the quality of your pitching staff with their first outings unless that pitcher is lobbying for a spot on the regular rotation. I couldn't agree more. We know that Beckett, Dice-K, Lester, Penny, Smoltz when he's healthy and even Wakefield will put together wins and if nothing else will have command of their pitches by June at the very latest we can assume. This isn't to suggest that these first few weeks are something the the Sox are going to be able to shrug off either and undoubtedly they won't. It is simply time to fine tune a series of arms that have had the cobwebs lifted in Spring Training. So go ahead Red Sox starters take the mound and throw your game.

Now I know I've mentioned that I have immediately noticed a few ticks in the early pitching but in the same breath a lot of those games could have been won with run support. Some of these April games could have gone either way with a single swing of the bat. I am not all too concerned by the Red Sox offense but I feel they could've supported their pitchers better than they have. What is burning me about this offense right now is the number of men they've left stranded. That is a tricky little stat that decides winners and losers. In other words that's a keeper stat. I feel like it's only a matter of time before the bats get hot and some serious runs are produced though. Early in the goings I've seen some promising at bats. Most of the 1-9 are getting good wood on the ball but just seem to be hitting them at someone. Others have been fractions away from the long ball. So to me in my mind it's only a matter of time before the Red Sox offense begins to not only produce runs but impress. Plus we can look at it this way... good hitting and run production makes pitchers look great. By the end of May I hope these things will come to be. That soon enough our pitchers will be hurling at full potential and a potent offensive line-up will produce runs and hopefully will compliment each other early enough that we are atop the division by the All-Star Break.

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