BOSTON -- Enough with the generalities. Here is a starter-by-starter look at how the Boston Red Sox have performed in the first two months of the season, which should leave little doubt why the club is currently seven games under .500 and in last place in the American League East, 4 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees.
Position by position, we tell you where each player ranks in batting average and OPS at his position, and identify the major league leaders at each position.
Designated hitter: David Ortiz
OPS: .692, sixth out of seven qualifiers (Paredes, .853)
Comment: We all knew the man could not hit forever, but the next month should tell us whether this represents a slow start or a steep decline. He has earned the benefit of the doubt.
First base: Mike Napoli
Comment: Napoli is .333/1.200 with five home runs in the 13 games since the midair hitting tutorial from Dustin Pedroia, so he is clearly trending in the right direction.
Second base: Dustin Pedroia
Comment: Pedroia has become the leadoff hitter by default, a role he doesn't particularly enjoy, but is .324/.820 in the nine games since the switch was made. He's had a solid season at the plate but has yet to approach the high bar he's set for himself. His defense continues to be exceptional.
Third base: Pablo Sandoval
Comment: Sandoval batted just .200 with four extra-base hits in May, the second worst month of his career in which he has played at least a dozen games. The only month worse was April of 2014, when he batted .177 and was supposedly distracted by contract extension talks with the Giants. He's a major disappointment to date.
Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts
OPS: .700, 10th out of 22 (Peralta, .891)
Comment: We've seen only flashes of the player who took the Sox by storm in the 2013 postseason, but there is continued progress for a player who is still just 22. His defense is much improved.
Left field: Hanley Ramirez
Batting average: .261, ninth of 17 qualifiers (Matt Holliday, Cardinals, .318)
Comment: It has been a bizarre two months for Ramirez. He hit 10 home runs in April but did not collect his first double until the team's 35th game. He went 24 days without driving in a run in May and had just six extra-base hits in the month. His defense has been wretched. This may well be an experiment the Red Sox will come to rue.
Center field: Mookie Betts
Batting average: .246, 15th of 20 qualifiers (Jacoby Ellsbury, Yankees, .324)
Comment: In his first full season, Betts has been the best Sox player on the field in a number of games, but the consistency has been lacking -- no surprise for a 22-year-old. A low BABIP (.259) could be a factor in his modest numbers. In his last 13 games, he has a .315/.351/.389 slash line, with only three extra-base hits, but like Bogaerts the progress is apparent.
Comment: None of the Sox right fielders have played enough to qualify; collectively, they've been the black hole in the offense. Castillo has just 30 at-bats since his promotion, so it's too early to tell if he will make the expected impact. Bradley is batting .349 in Pawtucket and has homered in each of his last two games, the first time this season he has gone deep in back-to-back games, but the Sox so far have shown no faith that he can do the job.
Catcher: Blake Swihart
OPS: .524, does not qualify (Vogt, 1.022)
Comment: It's all on-the-job training for the 23-year-old Swihart, forced by injuries to Christian Vazquez and Ryan Hanigan to forgo what was to have been a developmental season in Pawtucket. The bat is the least of Boston's concerns; it's behind the plate that he remains unpolished, but the progress is evident.
Starting pitcher: Clay Buchholz
Comment: Buchholz has seven quality starts in his 10 outings, most on the staff, and has a 2.48 ERA over his last four starts, He has been more dependable than he has been depicted. He has a FIP (fielding independent percentage) of 3.06, which suggests he has pitched better than his ERA, and is averaging a career-best 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings, and a career-low 2.4 walks. So far, though, his work has translated into just two wins, due in good measure to poor run support. The Sox have scored just one run in six of his last 10 starts, including each of the last three.
Starting pitcher: Wade Miley
ERA: 4.97, 90th among 112 qualifiers
Comment: Three bad starts lasting four innings or fewer have marred Miley's performance to date. The Sox were counting upon Miley to be the 200-plus-inning pitcher he was for the Diamondbacks, and that may yet develop. The sinkerballer pitched into the seventh inning in four of his six May starts, and had a 3.49 ERA for the month, which would have been better if he hadn't been on the hill for the 8-0 defensive debacle in Texas on Saturday night.
Starting pitcher: Rick Porcello
ERA: 5.37 ERA, 100th among 112 qualifiers
Comment: The Red Sox bet big on Porcello, signing him to a four-year, $103.63 million contract extension. While he has delivered six quality starts in his first 10, he has been shelled three times, including his last two starts, which shot his ERA from 4.26 to his currently untenable number. His strikeouts are up (a career-best 7.3 per nine innings), but so are the home runs; he has allowed 11 in 62 innings, a career-worst 1.6 home runs per nine. His price tag makes him a prime target for fan discontent; the Sox need him to regain form quickly.
Starting pitcher: Joe Kelly
ERA: 5.83, 105th among 112 qualifiers
Comment: Kelly has five starts in which he has allowed five runs or more, five starts in which he has allowed two runs or fewer. As the least experienced member of the Sox front four, he may be hurt most by the absence of a veteran catcher. This is his first full season in a starting rotation, and the Sox can only hope he's still learning on the job and his exceptional stuff will translate into better performance. So far, however, he is teetering on the edge of losing his rotation spot.
Comment: Masterson is in Pawtucket on rehab assignment and lacks the physical skills that made him an All-Star in 2013. Can he still be effective given the limitations with which he now pitches? So far, the answer is a resounding no. Wright has a 3.71 ERA in three starts and has considerable value as a depth starter, if not more. Rodriguez was dazzling in his big-league debut last week; he's due to pitch again Wednesday and isn't going anywhere if he pitches like he did against Texas. He could become a major X factor in the rotation.
Closer: Koji Uehara
Save percentage: 83.3 percent, 33rd (eight closers with seven or more saves are at 100 percent).
WHIP: .813, sixth among closers with seven or more saves (Andrew Miller, Yankees, .627).
Comment: Uehara has allowed hits in just two of his last 13 appearances dating to April 27, holding opponents to an .079 average, which made Josh Hamilton's game-winning double all the more devastating. The 40-year-old Uehara overall has shown little slippage, though his walks are up to 2.8 per nine, the first time in his career he has been higher than 1.6.
ERA: 3.61, 16th of 30 teams (Royals, 1.87)
Opponent OPS: .748, 30th of 30 teams (Houston Astros, .547)
WHIP: 1.34, 21st of 30 teams (Astros, .086)
Comment: Tazawa has been Boston's best setup man, Layne has emerged as John Farrell's go-to left-hander, and rookie Barnes is making the transition to a power arm in the pen. But collectively, this has proven to be a hittable group.