2014 was always likely to be a challenging year for the Red Sox as they started the season as the team that everyone wanted to beat. The reigning World Series Champions knew that every one of their rivals would make improvements to their roster via the draft and trade window to dethrone Boston following last year’s emotional and poignant victory. Being triumphant in the 2013 MLB season brought the franchise and the city together in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon disaster which shocked America and the rest of the world.
John Farrell is wily and experienced enough to know that the Red Sox had to start the season positively in order to assert their dominance, and make the MLB realize that they will be a force to be reckoned with once again. However, the 2014 season has been more of a struggle than many expected, with numerous uncharacteristic errors and players not hitting form culminating in an inconsistent start that may need addressing sooner than later. Many performances have not met the high expectation levels of Red Sox fans who believe the most successful team in the 21st Century should be faring much better. The month of May could be crucial in the Red Sox pulling back the deficit to the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles. Regular updates available every week from sites like bettingsports.com can keep you in the loop all season long.
The Yankees debacle
Losing to your fiercest rivals is always difficult to stomach for fans across any sport, but the humiliating series loss on home field at the hands of the Yankees was embarrassing. As if the Yankees being top of the American League East were not bad enough, the Red Sox’s pitchers picked the wrong moment to implode as they were blown away in the 9-3 and 14-5 losses that the players and fans want to forget in a hurry. The 5-1 win sandwiched in the middle was merely scant consolation from a series where Boston were second best at Fenway Park. What made the series loss even worse was the imperious form shown by former Red Sox favourite Jacob Ellsbury who came back to haunt Farrell in some style; the center fielder ended the 14-5 rout with a record of 3-for-6, which included two doubles, three RBIs and a walk. Boston have lost both series against the Yankees in the 2014 MLB season – a fact that has not gone down well with Red Sox fans.
Current series versus Athletics
Facing the Oakland Athletics, who currently sit top of the American League West following an excellent start to their 2014 campaign, would arguably have been the last thing John Farrell needed to rejuvenate the Red Sox and get them firing on all cylinders again. Boston needed a big series in order to overturn the deficit behind the Yankees and Orioles in the AL East, with much depending on the pitchers and big hitters upping their game and stepping up to the plate. To their credit, Boston have been superb throughout the season and are set to take a series clean sweep against the A’s, belying an average record on the road and misfiring season to hit top form. Saturday’s 6-3 win was memorable for star pitcher Jon Lester getting his game together and recording a career-high 15 strikeouts. ‘Big Papi’, Jonny Gomes and David Ross also weighed in on the offensive front with crucial home runs, while young protégé Xander Bogaerts continues to shine and take to his first full season in the MLB like a duck to water. More important, the potential series clean sweep is a positive sign that the Red Sox have bucked their ideas up and convinced many Boston fans that things will continue to improve.