Chaim Bloom hasn't been in baseball forever, but he's been around long enough to know that it's never wise to overreact.
So even as the Red Sox began their homestand Tuesday in first place in the American League East, Bloom is not about to fall into the trap of overrating his team for its play in the first month of the season. At the same time, he's not blind to some weaknesses that have become apparent, even in the face of a generally positive first 29 games.
The Sox are neither as good as they may have appeared in stretches, nor as troubled as they seem in dropping three-of-four in Texas over the weekend. The truth, as it often does, lies somewhere in the middle and will guide Bloom accordingly.
One glaring issue for the club has been the almost total lack of production they've received from two corner outfielders, Franchy Cordero and Hunter Renfroe. But Bloom indicated a willingness to be somewhat patient and wait for both players to come around.
"Obviously, it's not ideal,'' he conceded of their starts. "It is still early. I think it's important to remember that a week into the season, you look at Franchy and he was hitting .350 and obviously now he's not. He's had a really rough few weeks. The game both these guys play, I don't necessarily know that you'd expect either of them to come out and hit for a high average. You do expect them to be productive in other ways, and so far, we've seen that in spurts but we haven't seen that consistently.
"All the physical abilities are there to do it. We want to give them as much runway as we can. That's why you want to have different options for the manager, so there's ways he can put guys in different positions to succeed and if someone needs to go and work on something and try to get in a better pace, to try to be able to stay away from them for a couple of days, and do that. We know the ability is there. It's been frustrating that it hasn't showed up as consistently as we'd like. But we don't feel any differently about the potential those guys have to impact us.''
The Sox understood that with Cordero in particular, strikeouts were part of the equation. But they've come at such a rate (nearly 42 percent of his plate appearances) that they're not at all sustainable. The Sox thought they had seen him improve with a two-strike approach while scouting him last summer, but there's been little evidence of that in recent weeks.
"We need to help him get (the strikeout rate) back under control so that he can get to his power,'' Bloom said.
To date, without much coming from the bottom of the lineup, the Red Sox have largely been dependent on four players -- Alex Verdugo, J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers -- to produce what's been the highest-scoring offense in the league. But relying on four players to carry the team is probably