Asked to assess his team’s first month, finishing March/April with a 13-14 record, in third place 2 ½ games behind the American League East-leading Yankees, Red Sox manager John Farrell replied:
“Moving in the right direction, finishing off the month in a positive way. More consistent offensive approach. We’ve gone through a number of challenges both performance-wise and with health that kept us from being full strength for most of the month. While the win-loss record is less than we had hoped for, we’re moving in right direction.”
The Sox are 3-1 since getting their full lineup back and healthy for the first time on Friday, with the additions of Shane Victorino (Thursday) and Will Middlebrooks (Friday) from the disabled list.
“I think he’s seeing the ball more consistently and this goes back to what we saw in spring training,” Farrell said. “It’s allowed him to remain confident and relaxed in the box, and those two things combined minimizes the number of times he’s expanded the strike zone. It’s created more plate coverage and more confidence now at this time last year when he pressed to make up for previous at-bats.
The starting rotation has posted a combined ERA of 4.23, eighth in the AL, with a 1.41 WHIP that is 10th in the league.. Opponents have .277 against the starting pitchers, better than just three other teams in the league, with an OPS of .773 that is better than just two other AL rotations.
“There’s more consistency that can be had,” Farrell said. “At various times guys have performed up to their ability but its more start after start that we’re still trying to strive for.”
The Sox finish the month a game under .500, the first sub-.500 record they’ve posted for a month since September/October 2012.
“Our view in our division is in line with what we thought this offseason that it was going to be: good teams that are going to beat up on one another, bunched up,” Farrell said. “The first month has indicated some of that. We can only look at our club and the things you can control. we’re in a healthier state now than when the season began and that remains the case.
“A continuation and a building. Recently we’re heading in the right direction. We’re one-sixth of the way through. There’s no final assessment right now.”