Is the glass half full or half empty? After a dysfunctional start and injuries to key players, should fans be relieved or disenchanted with a last place team?
Guys like Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Will Middlebrooks, and Daniel Nava have overachieved. But with OPS .612 (Marlon Byrd) and .732 (Ryan Sweeney, no homers) the outfield looks more like Amateur Hour than Dancing with the Stars.
The Sox erstwhile ace, Jon Lester hasn't found a groove and seems moody and disaffected. Conversely, Josh Beckett has stepped it up with an ERA less than 2.25 during his last five starts.
Yes, there are sources of irritation. The Bobby Valentine circus sideshow has died down, probably more because of his bullpen management than anything else. And the cheerleading from NESN and the 100 Years of Fenway mantra doesn't compensate for the on-field mediocrity.
The Sox collective defense may not be making so many 'errors', but it feels like a steady stream of defensive miscues constantly stresses the pitching staff and the lying eyes.
Like the economy, the Red Sox seem to be muddling along, decelerating just when they need to dial it up. The Daniel Bard experiment has flown like a lead balloon. Bard's demotion to Pawtucket feels more like relief than surprise.
The hope for reinforcements in the form of Ellsbury, Crawford, Bailey, and Matsuzaka gives Sox critics (like me) pause. But for an ownership built on the commodity trade, the Sox are basing not trending up, and they're a hold not a buy right now.