By Matt Straub
Here are the three biggest storylines facing the Boston Red Sox as they begin a three-game series with the Texas Rangers Tuesday night.
1. I was completely wrong about Mike Napoli. He was red hot and healthy in the spring, and I picked him to hit 30 home runs. Instead, he will have to get hot to get to .200 and has all of three homers. There’s still plenty of time, but he cooled off faster than any player I can remember in some time.
2. Napoli hasn’t been the only offensive culprit, however. Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and others are going to have to raise their games soon. If you told me before the year the pitching would turn around before the offense, I’d have laughed. Instead, the Red Sox have one of the worst offenses in baseball. Their inability to hit left-handed pitching is a serious problem, and one you can look for other teams to start to exploit soon.
3. Having survived the road trip, Boston now comes home for a huge homestand. There are still a number of questions surrounding the team, but getting the chance to get comfortable at home is an opportunity the Sox can’t let slip away. These are the series the good teams win, making two-of-three mandatory.