In case you’ve missed it, the Red Sox have lost an astounding nine games in a row. That’s nearly three times their longest losing streak from last season, when they dropped three straight only three times the entire season. Call it bad luck, injuries, poor performance, all A.J. Pierzynski‘s fault or whatever you want, they’re still losing every time they take the field.
At eight games below .500, it’s clear that some kind of a change had to be made. So, Boston’s brass, in a flurry of activity, has signed Stephen Drew, called up Daniel Nava and Brandon Workman appears to be in line for Sunday’s start. It’s not a cure-all, but it’s a heck of a place to begin.
Drew is expected to help shore up the left side of the infield where Xander Bogaerts has been experiencing some growing pains. Furthermore, as much fun as Brock Holt is, he doesn’t play shortstop, essentially limiting his value to filling in for Will Middlebrooks at third. Drew also figures to help an offense that has scuffled thus far in 2014. The Red Sox, as a team, are hitting .241/.321/.364 against right-handed pitchers this season. Drew alone hit .284/.377/.498 against righties in 2013. Obviously, he can’t fix the lineup’s woes by himself, but that’s a marked improvement over the production thus far.
Will Middlebrooks meanwhile is hitting an astonishing .318/.375/.409 against southpaws in 2014. Middlebrooks (on his return), Drew and Bogaerts will probably see time as a platoon-type trio in order to maximise everyone’s offensive potential.
Nava, meanwhile is another piece who could help solve the offensive puzzle. While he was unspectacular to start the year, and didnt do a lot with the PawSox he’s probably a better option than what the Red Sox would send out otherwise. Granted, Nava’s call up comes only as a result of Shane Victorino‘s injury but when not one of your outfield positions is hitting over .250 a change has to be made. At this point, anything that gets the offense on track is fine by me, but the loss of Victorino isn’t easy to stomach.
Workman comes up to take the spot of the enigmatic Felix Doubront. And let me tell you, it’s well past time. Personally, I think Doubront’s lack of consistency should probably spell an end to his time in Boston’s rotation, but management seems to be committed to letting him continue taking the ball every fifth day.
Unfortunately for the Red Sox, these pieces arent going to solve everything. As it stands, with Jake Peavy and Clay Buchholz pitching the way they are, the Sox stand to lose three out of every five games before first pitch is even thrown. Allen Webster, Brandon Workman and Anthony Ranaudo are all performing well in Pawtucket and it may be time to stop giving the ball to ineffective veterans.
Further more, with both the outfield and starting catching positions hitting below average a change may need to come sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, I think it’s probably time for the Grady Sizemore experiment to come to a close. As much fun as he has been to watch, it’s clear the Red Sox need more out of their outfielders. I don’t know that there is an appropriate in house solution for that, but it is time a change be made. And with the recent rumblings about how disliked AJP is in the clubhouse, the 2012-esque foolishness has got to stop. If there’s tensions between starters and their catcher, they probably arent going to perform well. I’ve said before that putting stock in cERA may be kind of foolish, but Pierzynski boasts the 12th highest out of 19 qualified catchers. Call it what you want, but AJ simply isnt getting results when he is behind the dish.
There isn’t any kind of quick fix to the Red Sox’ problems. In fact, I am starting to think we may just need to count it as a write off/bridge year and collect the benefits. Obviously eight games below .500 isnt the end of the world, but it doesnt bode well either. Just to reach the 90 win plateau the Sox would need to go 70-44 the rest of the way, a feat which this team may not be able to accomplish.
Drew, Nava and Workman are going to help. But contributions from three guys arent going to be enough to turn everything around, and that’s assuming they all play like it’s 2013 again. If they dont, the Red Sox could end up in a deeper hole, making more changes than I thought possible.