Although it's still early in the season, four weeks isn't a terribly small sample size. And that's what makes a handful of developing MLB trends real head-scratchers.
Among the confusing questions being asked:
USA TODAY SportsPatrick McDermott
Why can't the Red Sox get past third base?
Even after consecutive clunkers against the Yankees, Boston is eighth in the majors in on-base percentage (.331), fourth in batting average (.266) and seventh in batting average with runners in scoring position (.282), and it has struck out fewer times than any team. Yet it’s 24th in runs per game (3.77).
The Red Sox can get on base; they just can’t circle them. Their MLB-low 11 homers match Eric Thames’ MLB-leading total; Pablo Sandoval, who was just placed on the DL, leads the Red Sox with three long balls. David Ortiz is sorely missed, as Xander Bogaerts admitted Thursday.
USA TODAY SportsGreg M. Cooper
Who are these guys, and what have they done with the Indians' rotation?
Four weeks into the season, only the Reds’ and Rockies' rotations have been worse than the Indians’. This is eerily similar to what we witnessed last season with the Astros’ starters after their 2015 postseason run.
Danny Salazar and Co. are making headlines for strikeouts — Cleveland’s rotation leads the AL with 142 K’s — but haven’t been too effective otherwise.
USA TODAY SportsDavid Richard
When did the Cardinals switch from gloves to frying pans?
The metrics don’t lie (per FanGraphs.com): St. Louis’ -11.7 UZR is four points worse than the next-closest team, and its -10 Defensive Runs Saved rank ahead of only the Pirates (-11) and Diamondbacks (-14).
There are guys playing out of position and subpar gloves that simply can’t be hidden, and even eight-time Gold Glove-winning catcher Yadier Molina is getting hurdled by Blue Jays reserves. An MLB-high 21 errors (in 22 games) is a good recipe for a disappointing April.
USA TODAY SportsScott Kane
Who is sticking pins into a collection of Mets voodoo dolls?
How can a team be this snake-bitten season after season? Noah Syndergaard’s biceps issue and Yoenis Cespedes' hamstring woes are the latest setbacks for a sinking squad that really can’t take many more hits — partially because it isn’t getting many hits.
David Wright, Lucas Duda, Steven Matz, Seth Lugo, Wilmer Flores and Travis d’Arnaud are among those battling minor and not-so-minor injuries. Who’s next?
USA TODAY SportsBrad Penner
Will the Tigers ever feel safe picking up the bullpen phone?
The bullpen has been the Tigers’ Achilles heel for a decade, despite their best efforts to bolster it. And it’s been an absolute travesty this month, posting an MLB-worst 6.72 ERA and .873 opponents’ OPS. Francisco Rodriguez would be in danger of losing the closer job ... if there were anyone pitching well enough to take it.
Perhaps no game better epitomizes this unit than Tuesday’s 19-8 win over the Mariners. Detroit had to use five (ineffective) relievers in the final three innings after building a 16-5 lead.
USA TODAY SportsKim Klement
Do the Royals' bats have holes in them?
Wasn’t the starting pitching supposed to be the biggest issue for Kansas City this season? Surprisingly, the Royals’ rotation leads the majors with a 3.10 ERA and ranks sixth with a 1.21 WHIP.
Meanwhile, Royals hitters are last in the majors in batting average (.203), on-base percentage (.266) and slugging percentage (.320). Thus, a seven-game losing streak and the second-fewest wins in the majors.