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Inside Information: Q&A with Over The Monster

Overthemonster_mediumAs we're all well aware, the Orioles start a three game series with the Red Sox tonight and will face them in six out of their next twelve games. Your pitching match ups for this series are as follows: Jeremy Guthrie vs. Jon Lester; Brian Matusz vs. John Lackey; David Hernandez vs. Tim Wakefield (even though we all know pitching most likely won't be the issue with the Orioles).

The Red Sox have gotten off to a slow start this year and currently sit just above the Orioles in fourth place in the American League East, albeit with 4 more wins.Their outfield has been taken down by injury and they've gotten little out of J.D. Drew, Victor Martinez, or David Ortiz at the plate. There is panic in Red Sox (barf) Nation, but you have to believe they'll get better.

Over the Monster is the Red Sox blog on SB Nation, and OTM writer Randy Booth answered this round of questions. We've all had our run-ins with Red Sox fans in Baltimore, with their Fenway South signs and Virginia license plates, and it makes us want to hate all the Red Sox fans. Believe me, I know. That's why every time I interact with Randy and he's super nice, I feel a little weird. Wouldn't it be easier if Randy were just an a-hole? But alas, he's not. And he had some good things to say about his team. Check it out below the jump.

Much was made this off season about the Red Sox decision to focus on pitching and defense rather than on offense. What were your feelings about this course of action then? With the early struggles the Red Sox have had, how do you feel about it now?

Then, and still now, I like what the Red Sox and GM Theo Epstein did in terms of molding the team. Improving the defense and stabilizing the rotation is just a smart bet. It's not working out too well for the Red Sox right now, but this is just 15 games into the season. Things round out. Teams and players start slow. Even if the Sox had a horrible season -- one that continued to play out like it is -- I don't think you can say making the defense and pitching that much better is ever a bad thing.

Like the Orioles, the Red Sox have been victim of several key injuries early in the season. Can Jeremy Hermida and Josh Reddick adequately replace Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron in the outfield?

Defensively, no. Offensively, close. Hermida has shown a lot of promise in his short time with the Red Sox and they'll get him into the lineup as much as possible. And Reddick is a promising prospect that has a pretty big bat.What the Sox will really miss is Cameron's outfield glove and Ellsbury's speed. Neither Hermida or Reddick can make up for that, but they excel at their own areas that will help fill some of the holes left behind.

David Ortiz had his troubles last year but finished the season strong. Having watched him so far this year, how does it compare with the start of last year? Does he look like he’s simply slumping, or is he cooked?

I think he's cooked. His bat is slow and he can't make square contact on the ball. I'm no scout, but it just seems like he's not watching the ball through and just wailing around aimlessly at the plate. He'll hit some home runs, but he's no Big Papi. Not anymore.

It looks like the Orioles will be facing Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Tim Wakefield this weekend. All three have gotten off to a slow start, but what can we expect from them? Have they looked better or worse than their numbers are showing? What are your impressions of John Lackey so far?

Lester is a notorious slow starter. When he comes around -- and he definitely should -- he's one of the toughest in baseball. Perhaps Lester will figure it out this weekend, but maybe not. Wakefield is just Wakefield -- one day he'll throw 8 scoreless, the next he'll give up 8 in three innings. Who knows how he'll do against the O's. I've liked what I've seen from John Lackey so far. He struggled on Patriots' Day, but he's a fun pitcher to watch because he works fast and throws strikes. I think he'll be a reliable starter for the Sox this year.

A lot of the focus on the Red Sox has been on the negatives, but what are the positives at this point? You know, other than the fact that the Orioles are coming to town.

Um. Next question, please.

(Oh, wait. Dustin Pedroia is the home run champion and Marco Scutaro refuses to swing and miss. I like both those things.)

Finally, what are your predictions for the AL East standings in 2010?

1. Red Sox, 2. Rays, 3. Yankees, 4. Blue Jays, 5. Orioles. Yeah, I'm sticking with my gut.