There are a couple different perspectives in which you can view the 13-0 drubbing the Toronto Blue Jays suffered at the hands of the Boston Red Sox on Sunday afternoon.
On one hand, you could view it as a big breakout afternoon for the Red Sox bats as they connected for six home runs and scored 13 runs on 15 hits overall. Or you could look at it from the other side, which is R.A. Dickey isn't enjoying his transition to the American League one single bit.
In his opening day start against the Cleveland Indians, Dickey was a notch below average, allowing four runs on five hits over six innings. He also walked four. On Sunday, the Red Sox were less forgiving, touching him up for eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits (two homers) and a pair of walks in 4 1/3 innings.
Not good. In fact, his five runs allowed in the first inning equaled the total number of first inning runs he allowed all of last season — in 33 starts.
Is it a reason for concern? Probably to some degree considering how few and far between Dickey's rough outings were last season. But things are always a little different with a knuckleballer, so what you see one or two days doesn't necessarily mean there's a pattern developing. It's possible he gets on track in his next outing against the Kansas City Royals and stays that way for awhile. It's also possible he struggles and has a tough April. Whatever the case is, it'll be worth keeping an eye on as Toronto will need him at his best if they plan on living up to the hype.
As for Boston, the first monster offensive day by a player not named Chris Davis or Michael Morse belongs to their third baseman Will Middlebrooks. On Sunday, Middlebrooks paced their attack with three home runs, including first inning and fifth inning blasts off Dickey. His third homer came off reliever Dave Bush in the seventh. He also added a double and an eighth flyout that drove left fielder Melky Cabrera to the warning track.
That adds up to four hits, four RBI, four runs scored, and 14 total bases on the afternoon, and he raises his early average from .200 to .320. They'll need continued production out of the 24-year-old to help make up for the absence of David Ortiz during the opening month.
Daniel Nava, Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Napoli were the other Sox to homer on Sunday.
It's also worth noting Middlebrooks' big day was the first three home run game by a Red Sox since Dustin Pedroia did it on June 24, 2010 in Colorado.