After a little over a month, the Boston Red Sox find themselves sitting at 15-16 with only two games standing between them and the New York Yankees at the top of the AL East. With all the struggles the Red Sox have had with runners on base, the team finds itself right in the thick of things in the early going. Sure, the division is packed full of talent, but that just means every team will beat up on each other.
The pitching has really been the jump start the Red Sox needed this last week, especially the last two starts from Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester. The veteran lefty struck out a career-high 15 against the Oakland Athletics Saturday, which is the most since Pedro Martinez who had 16 against the Tamp Bay Devil Rays in 2001. With everything starting to go the Red Sox way, May might be the month the team lifts back up to the top of the division.
The Red Sox have won six of their last nine contests, including the first two games against the Athletics after being swept by the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday’s doubleheader. The main catalyst for the recent success has been the resurgence of the stagnant Red Sox offense.
The team has scored six or more runs in five of the last eight contests with all those games being victories. Sure, there have been hiccups along the way with the bullpen giving up leads and the Red Sox squandering opportunities to steal some contests, but the RBI hits will come soon for this team if players keep getting on base.
Runners Not Coming Home
The Red Sox may be fourth in MLB with a combined .338 OBP, but it is the struggles with runners on that make this team one game below .500 through 31 contests.
As a unit, the team is hitting .224 with runners in scoring position. This is tied for 23rd worst in MLB with the Cleveland Indians and the only team worse in the AL is the Houston Astros with a .192 average.
Among players with more than 10 at-bats with RISP, Jackie Bradley Jr. has had 28 at-bats with runners on second or third and has hit a robust .393. Davis Ross has had 10 such at-bats and is hitting .300.
If the Red Sox can continue to get all these runners on via walks and hits, then the team will stay among the top in all of the offensive categories in 2014. And that’s even after such a slow start.
The Red Sox have a short five-game week this week with one more left against Oakland before welcoming the Cincinnati Reds for a two-game set. After an off day on Thursday, the squad will head to Texas for a three-game set against the Rangers.