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Red Sox May in Review: Youkilis, Ortiz, Lester Stole the Show

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, May is over.

Boston went 18-11 and brought themselves back into the thick of the AL East with a stellar month. It was an up and down month: we saw some guys come back (Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Cameron) and we saw some guys leave (uhh, Ellsbury, Josh Beckett). We saw less-than-stellar hitters light up like it was 2004 (David Ortiz) and a former MVP have a very rough month (Dustin Pedroia).

After the jump, see how the key players performed in May.


For the offense, here's how the starters performed in May:

Martinez 87 6 19 .276 .315 .878 .247 .377
Youkilis 82 7 17 .329 .521 1.204 .303 .506
Pedroia 108 2 7 .213 .325 .659 .223 .301
Scutaro 111 3 .261 .359 .693 .287 .314
Beltre 118 5 25 .333 .364 .932 .381 .402
Hermida 79 1 15 .228 .270 .498 .220 .224
McDonald 78 1 7 .244 .263 .583 .327 .266
Drew 102 2 18 .324 .381 .851 .392 .377
Ortiz 80 10 27 .363 .424 1.211 .396 .503


Youkilis put up a ridiculous .521 on-base percentage in the month of May. Without a doubt, that number led the majors in May. But what's even more impressive is that it wasn't even close: Justin Morneau had the second-best OBP in May at .487 -- 34 points lower than Youk's. You could argue Youkilis was the best hitter in baseball in May after looking at his stats above.


This is a "whoa, boy" kind of moment: Youkilis and Ortiz led the league in May in wOBA. Youkilis' .506 was tops while Ortiz followed closely behind at .503. (For a writeup on wOBA, click here.) Morneau (.496), Miguel Cabrera (.495) and Jose Bautista (.493) rounded out the top five. I wrote above that Youk was the best player in baseball in May -- and that's true -- but Ortiz is a close, close, close second. What a great month for the Red Sox, huh?


When Darnell McDonald joined the Red Sox in April, he came in with a splash, hitting home runs like it was his job (well, it kind of is, right?). But in May, he and Jeremy Hermida both fell off the map with really tough months. A 1.081 OPS is fantastic -- but not when you're combining two of your outfielders to get it. McDonald's .583 mark is bad, but is great compared to Hermida's .498. Thank the heavens Mike Cameron is back and let's just pray to the Baseball Gods that Jacoby Ellsbury will be healthy soon, because this wasn't pretty.


Despite the winning record, it wasn't quite the best month for Red Sox pitchers:

Lester 44.0 45 17 1.84 0.93 2.87
Buchholz 38.0 25 19 3.08 1.42 3.97
Lackey 31.1 18 18 5.17 1.62 5.85
Wakefield 25.0 10 4 4.32 1.24 5.48
Beckett 17.0 20 6 7.41 1.52 4.04
Matsuzaka 34.1 25 21 5.77 1.39 4.32
Papelbon 10.0 9 3 3.60 1.00 5.30
Bard 11.1 11 6 0.79 1.14 3.01
Delcarmen 14.2 12 6 1.84 0.95 3.58
Ramirez 9.1 9 5 4.82 1.50 5.57
Okajima 8.2 7 3 4.15 1.38 5.52


The two Red Sox pitchers leading the rotation are not Josh Beckett and John Lackey, who many of us thought would be before the season. Instead it's "The Ace" Jon Lester and "Assistant Ace" Clay Buchholz. Both had fabulous Mays, but Lester's was just that much better. We've been saying for a while now that Lester would become a household name this season and he's well on his way. Buchholz still has some things to work on (1.42 WHIP), but he's got the stuff to be just as good as Lester.


Manny Delcarmen took May by the hand and had himself a great month. The problem with his April was he was walking too many and striking out too few. He seemed to turn that around in May. Twelve strikeouts in 14.2 innings is strong for a reliever in his position, while the walks may still be a tad high -- but not horrible. His 3.58 FIP shows it wasn't all his defense behind him, either. Manny D seems to have finally figured things out.


John Lackey has been a disappointment and that may be an understatement. As bad as Beckett has been, that seems to revolve around injury. For Lackey, we don't know why he's been so awful. What pops out to me is his K/BB in May -- he walked 18 while striking out 18. Lackey has historically never been a pitcher to walk many, but this year has been the exception. Let's put it this way: Lackey has walked 30 batters in two months this season. In all of 2009 -- that's 176 innings of work -- he walked 47. He's on pace to walk 93 batters this season.