Jonathan Papelbon did his best to simplify the situation.
Initially, the closer's take on the Red Sox' lot in life after their 9-3 win over the Yankees Sunday night offered a dose of reality extracted from last season's roller coaster.
"My whole take on it is as simple as just looking at last year," Papelbon said. "We beat [the Yankees] the first eight games of the year and look what happened."
Of course what did happen was New York winning the World Series on the way to taking 13 of the teams' next 15 games leading into the latest Jon Lester-palooza on Sunday night.
"Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains," Papelbon added before heading out of the Sox' clubhouse.
If it was just only that cut and dried for this team.
They have won 16 times. They've also lost 16 times. And it's rained, more figuratively than literally. And what do they have to show for it? As much uncertainty as a team could muster heading into May 10 while staring at another brutal stretch of games.
For the next 16 games, the Red Sox will face Toronto, Detroit, the Yankees, Minnesota, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay. For those not paying attention to Major League Baseball these days, that is three first-place teams, two second-place clubs and a third-place group from Toronto that has won eight of its last 10.
All together, the Red Sox are heading into a group that is a combined 119-69.
With that in mind, let's look at how this Red Sox roster stands after a weekend of weathering the Yanks:
Marco Scutaro: He's hitting .283 with an on-base percentage of .368 and still hasn't made an error since April 17 (totaling three on the season). One thing of note is how comfortable Scutaro has seemed to get, both on and off the field, over the last week or so. At least in the public eye, he has become more outgoing that at any point in spring training or the season's first few weeks. Filling in for Jacoby Ellsbury in the leadoff spot, Scutaro has hit .288 with a .371 on-base percentage, scoring 16 runs.
Dustin Pedroia: No surprises here. A .293 batting average, .534 slugging percentage. Perhaps the only mild eyebrow-raiser is that Pedroia's strikeouts are up (17) and walks are down (11) compared to this time last season, when he had fanned 11 times and drawn 18 free passes. But the power numbers (7 homers compared to one by last May 10) make up for it, as does the kind of heads-up play in the field that Terry Francona likes to reference above all other parts of his second baseman's game.
Victor Martinez: His offense seems to be coming around a bit, with his average having climbed up to .252. But it's hard to ignore a slugging percentage of just .383, 28th in the majors among No. 3 hitters. (Casey Kotchman is better.) The difference between hitting lefty (.181) and righty (.438) is also notable.
One other thing about Martinez: Some wondered how his offense would hold up while catching on a regular basis. So far this year the only other position he has manned is designated hitter, having gone 1-for-16 when put in the spot. This is what Martinez said following Saturday's loss, in which he hit his third homer of the season:
"I'll tell you one thing, I don't care whatever I do at the plate. I'm taking charge of this pitching staff," Martinez said. "It's not fun (when they do bad) because I'm in charge of it. You're the one squatting back there and taking charge. When they fall down, I fall down with them. I don't really care (about hitting home runs). I take a lot of pride in my catching. Any time we get a win that means I did a nice job behind the plate directing the pitching staff."
Kevin Youkilis: Right now, he is the leader in the clubhouse for a berth on the All-Star team, hitting .307 with a .424 on-base percentage while slugging .553 with five home runs. He is hitting .440 in May, having already walked nine times compared to his 11 in the season's first month. He is also leading the charge in terms of making people respect a Red Sox offense that is third in the American League in runs.
"I don't think we get enough respect from you guys," Youkilis said after Sunday night's win. "It started from day one of spring training, and I don't know - we just have to keep proving ourselves, that we're good … We know we can swing it. We have to keep proving it to you guys."
J.D. Drew: There might not be a more important hitter in the Red Sox' lineup these days considering its need for a legitimate No. 5 hitter. In the first nine games of May Drew is hitting .469 with an on-base percentage of .514. Hitting in the meat of the order, Drew has thrived, going 4-for-7 in the No. 3 hole and hitting .350 (14-for-40) at No. 5.
David Ortiz: Guess what? He can hit a fastball, as was evidenced by the ground-rule double he rocketed into right field off of Yankees starter A.J. Burnett's 3-2, 95 mph heater in the second inning Sunday night. In case you haven't noticed, Ortiz is hitting .286 with a .762 slugging percentage in six May games after ogling .143 and .286 in April. Ortiz figures to get starts in three of the next four games if the right-lefty platoon holds true.
Mike Lowell: He's done about all that could be asked while adjusting to a new role, hitting .292 with a .382 on-base percentage. He has had an identical number at-bats vs. right-handers and lefties, actually hitting better against righties (.333) compared to southpaws (.250). He is also 6-for-13 with runners in scoring position. As for his positional breakdown, Lowell has played nine games at designated hitter, three at third base, and one at first. He also is 2-for-3 with two walks as a pinch-hitter.
Adrian Beltre: It's a good news, bad news scenario for the third baseman. He is hitting (.333), even adding some pop as of late. Beltre is also thriving in clutch situations, while hitting a remarkable .346 with two strikes. But he is also struggling with his confidence in the field, making seven errors (although it should be noted it is the same number he had on this date last season). The guess is that things on both sides will be evening off a bit.
Jeremy Hermida: Hermida has done about all the Red Sox might have hoped for, supplying an everyday presence while Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury recover from their injuries, with his fourth homer of the season, Sunday night, representing the latest impression. The strikeout-walk ratio is of some concern, with the lefty hitter having fanned 21 times while drawing six free passes in 76 plate appearances. It's a trend that has plagued Hermida in his young career, although he continues to offer patience at the plate, seeing more than four pitches per plate appearance.
Bill Hall: Hall hasn't seemed to find his moment yet, hitting .214 with one homer in 21 games. While his versatility has been a plus -- playing 14 games in left, four in center, two in right, two at shortstop, and manning second base for the first time since last Sept. 17 on Sunday night -- none of the spots has jumped out as being his spot. The reality is that third base is most likely his most comfortable position, but there are three players in front of him on the Sox' depth chart at that spot.
Darnell McDonald: All you need to know is that he is hitting .368 with the three homers against left-handers after totaling a .429 average against lefties in 14 Triple-A at-bats. He has shown his worth.
Jonathan Van Every: The outfielder has done everything he has been asked since coming back over to the Red Sox, including a display of a mean 79 mph straight ball on the mound. But the reality is that since he has options, Van Every figures to be the first to be sent down upon the return of Cameron.
Cameron and Ellsbury: Both injured. Cameron is starting his rehab outing Monday, while Ellsbury's cracked ribs have been slower to heal with no stint in the minors planned of yet.
Josh Beckett: Perhaps the most disappointing of all the early-season performances, Beckett heads into mid-May with just one win and a 7.46 ERA. Hitters have totaled a .311 batting average against Beckett, while claiming a .383 average with runners in scoring position (coming away with 3 hits and a walk in six bases loaded opportunities). All of those totals are not good and must get better if the Red Sox are to survive their upcoming stretch.
Jon Lester: The best pitcher on the Red Sox' staff right now, a notion that was only reaffirmed with his seven-inning, two-run outing Sunday night. Since April 23 he is 3-0 with a 0.98 ERA (behind only Tampa Bay's David Price's 0.79). It is the kind of run he rattled off last year, and a must for a team desperately looking for as many anchors as possible.
John Lackey: He has come as advertised, giving the Red Sox at least six innings in every outing but one. His last three starts have seen the righty go seven innings while not allowing more than three runs in any of them. He has allowed right-handed batters more success than lefties (.328-.231), but other than that, everything, down to his ground ball-fly ball ratio, has been consistent with his career path.
Clay Buchholz: Buchholz gets more swings and misses than any Red Sox starter, which says something. And he continues to utilize his two-seamer well, getting grounders 65 percent of the time. But with the Red Sox having very little room for error these days, the righty must be more like the pitcher he was in his first four starts (2.19 ERA) than his last two (7.59).
Daisuke Matsuzaka: He is encouraged, saying Saturday that his fastball was the best it has been since arriving in the United States. But, while most of his damage has come in just two innings, Matsuzaka must start producing. A 9.90 ERA in his first two starts isn't going to get it done, especially with Tim Wakefield sitting in the bullpen, waiting for his next chance.
Tim Wakefield: He is seemingly healthy. His four outings as a starter showed enough signs of optimism that would suggest he could go on another successful run. But even after coming off his first scoreless appearance on Sunday night, the awkwardness of having Wakefield come out of the bullpen is tough to ignore. Would it be fair to say that Wakefield could potentially be the third starter for at least 10 major league teams?