Dear Red Sox Nation,
It's time to step away from the bridge. Time to put out your trashcan fires, put away your molotov cocktails, and return your vehicles to an upright position. You have suffered through a month so listless, no list could possibly list all the list that was absent. But all that is at an end, and not just because Boston avoided another sweep at home. Here are five reasons why Red Sox fans can entertain playoff hopes this year:
1. April is over, so it's time for Jon Lester to shine.
As I previously spelled out, the Sox biggest problem to start the season has been pitching. Part of that was Jon Lester, who experienced his customary April struggles: a 4.71 ERA in April. But two starts into May he's looking very strong, having silenced the Angels and Yankees in succession. With a revivified Lester at the helm, our rotation will be greatly improved.
2. Victor Martinez will get better.
VMart has done little so far, reaching base less than . But he is a batter with a career .370 OBP, and with him healthy there's absolutely no reason to not expect more from him - more power, more hits and more walks. Include the inevitable return of our missing outfielders Ellsbury and Cameron (barring either catching Lowrieitis) and we can expect either renewed offense or at least a continuation of their current success.
3. Josh Beckett can't possibly be this bad, this long.
7.46 ERA? You kidding me?! Well, this awfulness won't last long - Beckett's peripheral statistics are way too good for the high ERA to continue. His FIP is 4.47 and his xFIP is 4.35, and his BABIP is .365. These stats indicate he's been victimized by very bad luck on balls in play, as well as poor defense. It may take a little while - we still have a tough schedule ahead for May - but as Beckett showed in his start against Baltimore, he can limit teams to 3 or fewer runs, and put our offense in a position to win.
4. John Lackey and Clay Buchholz should be strong.
Buchholz was the brightest spot in the Red Sox starting rotation through April (2.19 ERA), and with health and familiarity with the AL, we can continue to expect great performances from him. Lackey pitched decently through April (4.50 ERA), and had a great start to May against the Angels; given his career numbers, he should continue to impress.
5. Dustin Pedroia is a God among men.
If you're reading this sentence for explanation of the above, forget it. Our second baseman will single-handedly carry this team to October if he has to, with time for charity and filming commercials on the side.
It may not be time to beat your swords and pitchforks to ploughshares, but there's definitely cause for hope. As a Sox fan, I realize that this may just be a mirage - a vision of October champagne being cruelly offered to a drowning fanbase. But I don't believe that, and neither should you. Keep the faith, and écrasez l'infâme!* - E.
* l'infame being the Yankees, of course