Plenty of baseball left after so-so April

BOSTON -- Denied by the weather in their seventh chance at bringing their record back to .500 (six losses in previous six tries, rained out on Wednesday), the Red Sox finish April with a losing record (13-14) for the first time since 2011.

Designated hitter David Ortiz couldn't help but question the circumstances.

"Mother nature, what's going on?" Ortiz said emphatically while looking up to the clubhouse ceiling.

For the most part the weather in Boston has not been generous to the Red Sox this season as cold temperatures have been the norm around Fenway Park. On Tuesday night the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays in low 40-degree temperatures, so cold that Ortiz said he almost wanted to cry when he made contact with a swing at one point during the night.

However, with a (hopefully) warmer month of May on the horizon, Ortiz has a theory in mind that should do the trick to help keep the tears away.

"If the weather heats up, then Papi heats up," he said.

So far this season the 38-year-old Ortiz has posted modest numbers at the plate, sporting a .250/.352/.446 slash line with five home runs and 14 RBIs. He, like the rest of the team, is unsatisfied with how the first month of the season has gone.

"This first month was just one of those months where a lot of things happened, but I think it was OK," Ortiz said. "April is always a tough month, you've got to deal with a lot of things."

The Red Sox's offense had to deal with stints on the disabled list for Shane Victorino and Will Middlebrooks as well as nagging injuries to Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli and Ortiz. After a strong start, the starting pitching hit some rough strides but is now turning things around with three quality starts the last turn through the rotation. Meanwhile, the bullpen has shined from start to finish, posting the third-best ERA in the American League.

The pieces are there. But according to Ortiz, they just aren't in place yet.

"The games that we have won this year [are] a combination of good pitching and good offense," Ortiz said. "The games that we have lost are a combination of inconsistent pitching with inconsistent offense."

"Winning is a little bit of everything."

And so, with a May schedule that consists of all but two teams (Toronto and Minnesota) that finished the 2013 season with 90 or more wins, the Red Sox will hope to continue using a little bit of everything to keep up their winning ways.

"We're moving in the right direction," manager John Farrell said. "Finishing up the month in a positive way, both in terms of health and more consistent offensive approach."

Tuesday night was reminiscent of the way the 2013 Red Sox went about their business on their way to a World Series championship. The team forced opposing starter Erik Bedard out of the game after five innings and 104 pitches. Their starter, John Lackey, pitched eight strong innings. The offense, led by the bottom third of the order, put together a rally against the opposing bullpen that put the game out of sight early.

Although Farrell said the team's record isn't where the Red Sox wanted to be at this point in the season, he has noticed that things are trending better.

"I look at it as a continuation and a building," Farrell said. "We're 1/6 of the way through in terms of months. There's no final assessment right now."

Just 2 ½ games out of first place in what Ortiz has described as a noticeably stronger AL East, the team has shown no signs of panic. Although the players aren't satisfied with where they are, they still know that there is plenty of baseball left to be played this year.

"We've still got five months left so we'll see how things go," Ortiz said.