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Things Are Ugly For The Boston Red Sox

BOSTON (CBS) -- Just about everybody expected the competition in the AL East to be fierce this season. While the Red Sox weren't the favorites to follow up their excellent postseason run with a division crown, they were expected to be in the thick of the race for the bulk of the season.

Yet now, less than a month into the season, the Red Sox are non-factors.

Sunday's 9-5 loss in rainy Baltimore capped a rough weekend, which capped a rough road trip, which capped a rough three weeks to start the year.

The Red Sox lost the series in Baltimore, dropping to 9-14 on the season. They've now played every AL East team, and they've gone 0-5 in those series. They're 5-11 against divisional opponents thus far, going 1-2 against Baltimore, New York and Tampa while going 2-5 against the Blue Jays.

The team has an off day on Monday, ahead of a six-game homestand against the Angels (15-8, first place in AL West) and White Sox (8-13, third place in AL Central). Those two series kick off a stretch of 21 games against non-AL East opponents. The question now is what the Red Sox will look like when they see the Orioles on May 27.

Some of the issues for the Red Sox were expected. Others, not at all.

On the former point, the Red Sox have a mediocre-at-best bullpen that ranks ninth in the AL in WHIP, eighth in opponents' batting average, and seventh in ERA. The starters have actually performed a bit better than expectations, with Boston's rotation ranking fourth in the AL in ERA (3.51). Yet they're eighth in the AL in innings pitched, thus requiring more work from their bullpen, thus leading to a middle-of-the-pack pitching staff overall.

But the pitching was supposed to be mediocre. The offense was supposed to carry the team. Instead, it's been nonexistent.

Through 23 games, the Red Sox have scored just 81 runs, fifth-fewest in the AL. They've hit just 13 home runs (fourth-fewest), and their .622 OPS is fourth-lowest in the AL. That's particularly surprising, considering they lead the league with 47 doubles. But they've drawn just 52 walks, second-fewest in the AL, and their .343 slugging percentage ranks 10th in the AL.

That part of the equation figures to change. Outside of Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez (when healthy), nobody on the Red Sox is really hitting. Trevor Story has yet to hit a home run, Kiké Hernandez is 150 points off his career OPS, Alex Verdugo has yet to hit his stride. The Christians -- Arroyo and Vazquez -- are well off their career numbers as well.

Put it all together, and you're looking at a team that has won just one out of its seven series played, sitting a half-game out of last place in the division.

Presumably, the offense will come around. But given this hole that the Red Sox have already dug for themselves, it may end up being too late.

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