BOSTON (CBS) – The Red Sox have gone 12-14 so far in the opening month of the season — not exactly up to snuff for a defending World Series champion, considering they were never, not even for a day, under .500 all of last year.
MLB.com’s Ian Browne joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Adam Jones Show Monday night to discuss the struggling Sox. To start the discussion Browne pointed out the difference he’s seeing in this year’s team compared to last.
“They just look disjointed. They’re not cooking in any phase of the game consistently. It’s just one of those starts that when they hit, they have a bad pitching performing. When they pitch, the bats go cold. When both things are okay, the defense lets them down. They just don’t look cohesive right now.
“They look like they have that classic championship hangover combined with a team that maybe overachieved a bit last year. They’ve also had some injuries early on. I don’t think it’s any one thing.”
Pitching, hitting, defense, youth — of all the woes plaguing the Red Sox, Browne has been most surprised with the starting pitching.
“Clay Buchholz looked decent the other day [at Toronto] but he hasn’t looked the same. [Felix] Doubront continues to baffle me with his inconsistency. [John] Lackey started pretty good, had a couple tough ones then pitched well his last time out. I think Jake Peavy’s actually been their most consistent guy, and Jon Lester has been pretty good for the most part, but he hasn’t been great the last few times out.”
On Lester, much hubbub in spring training before the start of the season was centered around the contract statuses of David Ortiz and Jon Lester. Ortiz got his deal, and now Lester awaits his.
The two sides, Lester’s agents and the Red Sox, have broken off talks for now after what some called an “embarrassingly low” offer on the part of the team. However, the two parties are still amicable by all accounts
Browne provided an update on the status of the negotiations.
“The one good thing they have going for them here is Ben Cherington and the whole Red Sox front office has a really good relationship with the Levinson brothers, who represent Jon Lester. … There’s a lot of history between these guys and the Red Sox. I would say the All-Star break is generally a time when stuff like this either gets done or doesn’t get done. If we get to the All-Star break and we still haven’t heard anything, I think at that point you’re looking to push [talks] back until the end of the season.
“I still think they’ll make another run at this thing and try to get it done. Left handed aces don’t grow on trees. We all know what Jon Lester can do. He’s pitched in the biggest games imaginable and pitched well in them. It’d be hard to replace Jon Lester. I still think the Red Sox want to keep him and I still think Lester wants to stay.”
Browne predicts Lester’s deal will get done similar to how Dustin Pedroia’s did. The talks go quiet and dormant for awhile, and all of a sudden around the All-Star break it gets announced.
However, Adam Jones wonders if the relationship between the two sides are so good, then what’s taking so long?
“Jon sees what these other ace pitchers are making right now and feels like his deal doesn’t really measure up. He would take a hometown discount, but he wants to take a fair hometown discount. … This is going to be his last big contract, so I think he’s looking for more of a five, six-year deal [opposed to the four that was offered]. They just haven’t found that common ground yet.”
Listen below to the full discussion, including how much the team misses Jacoby Ellsbury at the top of the batting order and much more: