The Sox are 0-3 and Red Sox Nation seems ... oddly okay with that. But if the Sox are .500 in July, things will get very ugly, very fast.
The Red Sox are 0-3. Do you know what the funny part about this atrocious start is?
No one is panicking.
Red Sox fans are okay. They're sitting back and looking at that star-studded lineup and that star-studded rotation and calming themselves. Adrian. Carl. Youk. Pedey. Then there's Lester and Buchho and, hey, let's even be happy about Lackey and Beckett. At least for now.
I'm not sure how long this calmness could possibly last. Could the Sox go 0-6 or 0-10 and everything be all right? Would Sox fans bite their tongues and grin if the Sox were 3-15? Who knows. But that's what money and power give you. When experts all over the world think your team is going to the playoffs and, most likely, the World Series, you have a lot more leeway.
But this could end very ugly.
With all these "experts" thinking the Red Sox will win 100-plus games and have no competition this year, anything short of that will be a disappointment. What if the Sox don't win 100 games? What if, Baseball Gods forbid, the Sox don't make the playoffs?
All. Out. Anarchy.
You will not want to be in New England if the Red Sox fall short of a playoff appearance. The result will be catastrophic. You thought the end of the 2003 season was bad? Just wait to see what happens if this scenario plays out. Riots would be the least of the worries. Flipped cars would be the alternative cops would want at the end of 2011.
The Red Sox can't lose. Zero and three is OK right now, but if the Sox are floating around .500 at the All-Star break, everything won't be fine. If the Sox don't make the playoffs, there will be consequences. If you think Terry Francona or Theo Epstein is safe no matter what, well, if 2011 doesn't end in a trip to the playoffs, one of them could possibly lose their job.
It seems a little ridiculous, but that's what high expectations do for you in Boston. Hopefully, for everyone's sake, this won't be an issue come October 1.
SLOW STARTS, BE DAMNED
The Red Sox might be winless, but Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz are off to hot start. Gonzo has five hits and Ortiz has four. They are responsible for nine of the team's 20 hits this season. Good for them, bad for the team.
The other player that has started hot is Jacoby Ellsbury. If you didn't know any better, you might think Ellsbury is a whole different hitter. He's been patient at the plate and waiting for good pitches. Three-two counts used to be rare for Jacoby, but now it's become almost a habit. Of Jacoby's 12 at-bats, five have gone to a full-count. His OBP is sitting at .357 -- with a batting average at .250.
If Ellsbury raises his average -- and he will -- his OBP should be around the same number or even better with more games under his belt. If he's getting on at a .360 clip at the top of the lineup, the Red Sox's offense will be even more deadly when at full strength.
RELYING ON BECKETT
After three poor start from Jon Lester, John Lackey and Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox are relying on last year's Opening Day starter, Josh Beckett, to right the ship. Sports work out like that sometimes.
The situation is perfect for Beckett. Of course he's not happy about being the No. 4 starter; he's used to being The Man. Now he sees the three guys in front of him falter and he's put on the pedestal.
So, now, who will step up: 2010 Beckett or 2007 Beckett?
When it comes to facing the Indians, let's hope it's 2010 Beckett.
On Aug. 3 last year in Fenway, Beckett pitched his best game of the season. He allowed one run and three hits over eight innings of work. It was the only game Beckett went eight or more innings last season. He struck out eight and walked just one. That's the Josh Beckett the Red Sox signed to a huge contract last season.
For one game, let's hope 2010 Beckett is still around.