There’s a lot more to be encouraged about than discouraged through the first three games of the Red Sox' season.
Players who entered the year as question marks, like Pablo Sandoval and Sandy Leon — even Jackie Bradley Jr. — have had performances that suggest they can be reliable. Bradley looks particularly good, his excellent defense on display early as well.
Leon hit the walk-off home run on Wednesday in a 3-0 win over the Pirates. Crushed it, in fact. Sandoval hit a go-ahead, opposite field homer on Friday in the eighth inning, although it went for naught in a 6-5 loss to the Tigers.
Despite an offense that has pushed a run across inside of just one inning in every game, the Sox have two wins and only one loss.
All this has happened, mind you, as the roster turned to an influenza petri dish. The flu and flu-like symptoms continue to limit the team, and combined with players’ personal losses — Matt Barnes and Xander Bogaerts are both on the bereavement list — the Sox are nowhere near full strength.
Yet, they easily could be 3-0.
The Sox knew they’d be without Tyler Thornburg, who, after an examination Thursday, still needs a few days before he attempts throwing to return from a shoulder impingement. But to enter this Tigers four-game series without Thornburg, Barnes or Robbie Ross — the latter on the DL with the flu — and have the bullpen blow Friday’s game?
Don't tell me you're stunned. They're down three regular relievers. Something was gonna give.
But with the bottom of the lineup — or rather, players who will more often be at the bottom of the lineup — showing signs of life, there’s reason to feel good about the Sox once they regain strength. Even the defense-minded Mitch Moreland is starting to come around, with a pair of late hits Friday after nearly homering on Wednesday.