I want to highlight problems that I see with this Red Sox team, but before discussing those problems let's place this conversation on a higher level: the problems I'm about to discuss are problems that other teams wish that they had. For example, the Rays came into this season expecting their pitching to carry the team's weak offense. They had 2012 Cy Young award winner David Price heading their rotation with loads of young talent behind him. Well, Price's ERA after April is over 5; and Jeremy Hellickson isn't faring any better. They traded ace start James Shields for "top prospect" Wil Myers, but Myers's numbers at AAA Durham show that he's not MLB ready yet. Ironically, the Kansas City Royals have emerged as an early surprise as playoff contenders behind James Shields's strong arm.
The Red Sox have emerged as surprise playoff contenders this early in the season, too. It's been a while since we've seen a Red Sox team at full strength, with minimal injuries. Victorino and Andrew Bailey have been on the shelf this past week, but other than that this team has been at full strength -- which is a beautiful thing.
One also must wonder how long this lack of injuries will last for.
Injuries happen. After the 2010 and 2012 seasons Red Sox fans are quite familiar with the ole injury bug happening to their team. I'm sure this team doesn't sense this -- everyone thinks that they'll live forever. But, one the best attributes I've seen from this Red Sox squad is their ability to stay in games and win. They soaked up wins in April, which is not only a great display of positive attitude and teamwork, but those April wins might be crucial in a baseball world with the second wild card placing most teams in playoff contention for a longer period throughout the season.
To place some perspective on this: The Yankees have played well, too, and they have a ton of injuries. If Jeter and A-Rod make it back to the roster, but then lose out to a playoff berth because the Red Sox soaked up April wins when they were at full strength, then we see the power of this Red Sox team playing all out throughout the season.
Who doesn't -- nay, can't -- like the winning spirit displayed by the Red Sox so far? I love this team. Win or lose, I can only thing of a couple games that they haven't been in this season. When this team loses, they're always threatening to win the game. They're the kind of time that you want to watch, because you never know what will happen.
So, with all of that said, I'll reserve a couple posts this or next week (no timetable, I'm lazy) to discuss problems I see with this current Red Sox team. Every team has problems that should be discussed, but problems are smaller than those of other teams.