On to the Report Card:
Hitting – C
The Red Sox lineup was supposed to be formidable this season, but while we’ve seen a couple of flashes, the group spent May mostly underperforming. Not everyone: Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit half-a-dozen homers and hit .300. Rookie call-up Will Middlebrooks also had a hot month, hitting .316 with six home runs of his own, while David Ortiz provided some power as well. However, the rest of the team – including stars Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis – has failed to show the kind of consistent offense that was expected. That lack of consistency (along with the injuries) might prove the team’s undoing.
Starting Pitching – D+
This is actually a bit generous. The only standout in the rotation has been Felix Doubront, who has put up a 3.71 ERA while winning four games. Josh Beckett has been passable, going 2-2 with an ERA just over four. However, the other three Sox starters have spent May running the gamut from barely mediocre to outright terrible. John Lester and Daniel Bard both have ERAs hovering around five. Lester hasn’t pitched at all like the ace he’s supposed to be, and Bard has been walking the ballpark in every start. Neither man has been as bad as Clay Buchholz – opposing hitters are batting .324 against him.
Bullpen – B
The bullpen wasn’t bad last month. They’ve got six guys who managed ERAs under three in May. Scott Atchison might have had the most quietly impressive month of the bunch. In 17 innings over 11 appearances, Atchison didn’t give up a run. Closer Alfredo Aceves was much better in May, going eight for nine in save chances. Guys like Matt Albers, Andrew Miller and Rich Hill all had surprisingly effective stretches. Heck, if Vicente Padilla isn’t giving up runs, your bullpen is doing something right. It’s too bad that Andrew Bailey got hurt – judging from the performance this group is putting out, Bailey might have taken them from good to great.
Defense – C -
For a group that’s supposedly talented with the glove, the Red Sox have been curiously unimpressive defensively. Not bad, per se – just average. Despite having scads of Gold Glove winners on the field (not to mention a couple on the disabled list), the Red Sox have been just OK on defense. Catcher Saltalamacchia was a particular offender in May, making six errors in the month. Shortstop Mike Aviles made four of his own. In fact, just about every regular who took the field in May made at least one error.