A few quick notes during this five-game winning streak:
--Big Papi leads the league in hits and average.
--They've scored 10+ runs more often than anyone in MLB.
--There are no automatic outs right now.
--Aviles continues to (surprisingly) impress batting leadoff.
--To give credit where credit's due: Bobby Valentine stumped everyone when putting Aviles in the leadoff spot, including me. We were wrong; it's been long enough now to say that Aviles is doing well, and not just well "for now."
So, suffice it to say, even without Ellsbury, the Sox are as offensive as they were last year.
Of course, I mean that in a couple of ways. What's truly offensive:
--The Sox have the highest ERA in MLB--over 6.0.
--Lester has been lit up. Period. All year, and going back to the second half of last year. This is disconcerting.
--Beckett's been getting better, but he was lucky he wasn't tossed in his last start. Let's focus more on the hitters, shall we?
--Bucholz is a .500 pitcher right now, maybe a little worse.
--Salty is not impressing with his throwing or pitch-calling.
--I again say that Varitek's greatest talent was in pitch-calling. I'll bet that, career, the Sox pitchers' ERA is about a full run lower when he caught. By his absence, we see more of this. I see some truly disagreeable pitch-calling in this year's games, stuff you won't ever see in the box score. I don't know why I'm seeing some of the pitches thrown when I do, in the count that I see them in, to the batters I see them to. I'll try and keep notes on this during the games so I can be more specific.
--But this year's pitching debacle is not all Salty's fault. Let's hear a few raspberries aimed at Bob McClure.
--Lots of pitches up in the zone this year. The opposing batters are hitting some very easy pitches. It's so bad, it makes me feel that I can just grab a bat and hit off these guys. Well, almost.
--Before we get excited about this current winning streak, let's consider who it's against. Three in Minnesota (a truly bad team) and 2 in Chicago (a mediocre team, at best). Against the good teams, the ones a playoff-bound team must do well against, namely, the Yankees, the Tigers and the Rangers, the Sox have done very poorly. It's still a young season, but let's say what we've clearly seen so far: the Sox have beaten the bad teams, like they're supposed to--like everyone's supposed to--and they've lost to the good teams. And not just lost, but been beaten and outplayed and outclassed by them. I'll get excited when they have a five-game winning streak against the good teams. But, again, the season is but 19 games in--still young.
--Speaking of young, Delmon Young is now, and has always been, an idiot. A good hitter, a poor fielder, and a moron. And not necessarily in that order. Why people with incredible talent and tens of millions of dollars insist on acting stupid and throwing all that away continues to be a mystery to me.
--If I can, I'll be switching back and forth between the Sox game and the Nationals on MLB Network. I'm not one for hype, but I'll see two #1 picks (Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper) play in the same game, on the same team, for the first time, any day.