The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Red Sox Recap April 21-27

How soon will it be before John Farrell gives Chris Capuano
a shot at the starting rotation? (AP photo Gerald Herbert)

Jan-Christian Sorensen
Contributing Writer

It’s not quite time to hit the Panic Button, Red Sox Nation. Uncoil that fist. Everyone take a deep breath, relax and realize that one month does not an MLB season make.

Thank the baseball gods for that much — the 2014 edition of the Boston Red Sox has sputtered to a sluggish start and continues to look more like the Houston Astros than the defending World Series Champions as April mercifully draws to a close.

In Week Four of the season, more inconsistency from the offence again left the Sox on the wrong side of the scoreboard as Boston hitters left 52 men on base and were only 15-for-63 with runners in scoring position over seven games.

Here’s a look back at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from Week Four:

Overall record: 12-14, 4th place in AL East
Past week: 3-4 (Patriots Day loss to Orioles; series loss to Yankees; series win against Blue Jays) Runs Scored: 35
Runs Allowed: 45
Team BA: .241 (17th in MLB)
Team ERA: 3.90 (17th in MLB)

Top 3 Defenders of the Nation:

1. Chris Capuano, RP: The Chris Capuano Reclamation Project kept up the torrid pace last week, as the rejuvenated lefty reliever came out of the bullpen to throw 3.2 innings and allow no runs on two hits while walking one and striking out five. In 11 games this season, Capuano has more than made his case for a shot at the starting rotation, tossing 14.1 frames and allowing only eight hits while striking out 15 and not allowing a single runner to score while holding batters to a .157 average at the plate.

2. John Lackey, SP: Lackey shook off a bad outing against Baltimore on April 18 and rebounded with an eight-inning gem against the Yankees on April 23, allowing only one run on seven hits while striking out 11 and walking none to earn the win and lower his ERA to 4.22 on the year.

3. Jackie Bradley, Jr., CF: Jackie Bradley, Jr. looked more at home on the big-league roster this past week, as the youngster stole a base and batted .250 with three doubles, a triple, two walks and three RBI in seven games.

Honourable Mention: Jake Peavy, SP: Peavy finally recorded his first decision of the season on April 25, outdueling Mark Buehrle as Boston beat Toronto 8-1 at Rogers Center. Peavy went seven strong innings and only allowed one run on five hits while striking out seven to move to 1-0 on the year and a 2.87 ERA.

Top 3 Offenders of the Nation:

1. Jon Lester, SP: Despite some gems early in the season, Lester’s wheels came off this past week in outings against New York and Toronto. Against the Yankees on April 22, Lester only made it 4.2 innings and suffered the loss after giving up eight runs (three earned) on 11 hits and walking four. On April 27, Lester got tagged with a loss again to fall to 2-4 with a 3.10 ERA after he went seven innings and allowed four runs on five hits despite walking none and striking out seven.

Daniel Nava's continuing struggles with Boston earned him a trip back down
to the farm in Pawtucket this week (Matthew J. Lee photo/Boston Globe)
2. Daniel Nava, OF/IF: Nava’s continuing struggles at the plate — after three weeks and 75 plate appearances, he was only batting .149 — earned him a demotion and a trip back down to the AAA PawSox farm team in Rhode Island. It’s been a rude awakening for the 31-year-old, who batted .303 with a dozen home runs and 66 RBI in 2013.

3. Felix Doubront, SP: The Venezuelan lefty’s struggles continued unabated on April 24 against the Yankees as Doubront only made it 2.2 innings, surrendering seven runs (three earned) on six hits while walking two and only striking out one to fall to 1-3 on the year with a 6.00 ERA. 

Dishonourable mention: Grady Sizemore, CF: Sizemore’s feelgood comeback story had a bit of a hiccup this week as the former Indians phenom went 2-for-15 in four games for Boston with seven strikeouts and saw his batting average dip to .208.

High Point of the Week:

April 23: John Farrell alerts home plate umpire Jerry Davis to a poorly hidden streak of pine tar on Yankee starting pitcher Michael Pineda’s neck that was as clear as day to everyone watching the game at home. Davis promptly strolled out to the mound, inspected the Yankee pitcher and promptly tossed him out of the game once the substance was discovered. "Pine-eda" ended up being suspended for 10 games later in the week.

Low Point of the Week:

April 24: Hosting the Bronx Bombers, the Red Sox commit five — count ‘em, FIVE — errors in a game for the first time since April 28, 2001. At least the Sox spread the gaffes around the field evenly, with Brock Holt, Xander Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia, Felix Doubront and Jackie Bradley, Jr. all getting tagged with an “E”.

Low Point Of the Week Runner-up: Outfielder Mike Carp comes into the same game and tosses an inning of “relief”, allowing one run and walking five to pump his ERA to 9.00.

Highlight Line of the Week:

April 23, John Lackey, SP: 8.0 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 11 K, 4.22 ERA, W (3-2).

Lowlight Line of the Week:

April 24, Craig Breslow, RP: 1.0 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7.50 ERA.

Injury Updates:

It’s all clear on the injury front aside from pitcher Steven Wright, who is recovering from sports hernia surgery and hit the 60-day Disabled List on April 7. This past week saw the return of a healthy 2B Dustin Pedroia (wrist) and closer Koji Uehara (shoulder) as well as the activation of 3B Will Middlebrooks (right calf strain, flu) and RF Shane Victorino (right hamstring strain).

On Tap This Week:

The Red Sox are back at The Fens tonight to open a three-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays, who, at 11-15, are the only thing keeping the Red Sox out of the basement of the American League East Division. On Friday, the red-hot Oakland Athletics (16-10) fly to the East Coast for three games against the Sox.

Keep the Faith. Drink the Dirty Water. Connect with me on Twitter: @jan_doh