By Aaron Jackson
With the Red Sox floating at or around .500 on the season, fans and players are starting to get a little antsy to see their team perform up to the potential most believe exists. While some writers and fans have begun calling for John Farrell’s head, as the voice of reason on this show, it’s time for me to pump the brakes on those that think the season is already in jeopardy. Here’s five reasons for optimism at this point in the season.
- Xander Bogaerts is starting to find his rhythm, and more importantly his power. In the first month of the season he had 2, yes 2, extra base hits. Not good. So far though in the month of May he has 8 doubles and 3 triples, while also stealing 5 bases. That first home run has still eluded him, but at this point it seems only a matter of when. Getting him going in the lineup is crucial to the Sox success.
- Third base help is likely on the horizon. Whether that be the return of Pablo Sandoval, or an acquisition similar to Todd Frazier of the White Sox, I honestly don’t think things can get any worse at the hot corner. Any sort of development would be an instant upgrade.
- Christian Vazquez seems to have figured out how to swing a baseball bat. One of the biggest question marks going into the year is what will happen at the catcher position. Sandy Leon had become a revelation last season, while Vazquez is the guy the front office has wanted all along. Vazquez will never be the power threat that Leon is, but he is hitting for average consistently, which is more than enough for him to play every day given his defensive capabilities.
- It seems like the defense is improving. While the outfield defense was never really a concern, it’s been fantastic so far to this point. They may have the best defensive outfield in baseball. And while the infield had seemed to be a disaster a few weeks ago, they seem to have righted the ship and are fielding at a much higher percentage.
- Joe Kelly is becoming the bullpen piece we all knew he could be. He’s finding some level of control on the mound, and his stuff has always been top notch. If he keeps doing what he’s doing he will find John Farrell more willing to use him in high leverage situations as an 8th inning guy. Combined with possibly getting Carson Smith or Tyler Thornburg or both back the bullpen should be fine over time.
Aaron Jackson (@AaronRJackson on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.