Maybe you are one of the optimistic Red Sox fans who believes this 2014 team has a
second half run in them. You argue that despite being a season worst ten games under
.500, the team is actually only nine games out of first place. You remind your fellow
fans that the pitching staff as a whole has the 5th best ERA in the American League,
and now with a “fixed” Buchholz they will only get better. In addition, according to Fan
Graphs that same group has the single best fWAR in the AL (11.8). You point out that
even though the offense has been extraordinarily bad, they have still scored more runs
than the first place Atlanta Braves and over .500 St. Louis Cardinals. While all this may
be true, I believe it is time for Ben Cherington and company to say enough is enough
and look towards 2015.

It is extremely difficult for us as fans to come to grips with the fact that maybe this 2014
product is not very good. It certainly has been hard for me, since, well, they did win the
World Series last year. However, despite the positive signs that have come from a top
tier pitching staff in the American League, none of that matters when your offense has
been the worst in the American League. How bad? Let’s take a look at their standing in
the AL:

  • Last in runs scored (behind the Houston Astros) with 328
  • 12 of 15 in hits and home runs (65)
  • Second to last in total bases and team average
  • Last in RBI with 310
  • Last in slugging percentage
  • 13 of 15 in OPS
  • 9 of 15 in fWAR with a combined 8.3 (The Angels lead with 19.1 — thanks Mike
  • Second to last in ISO with a dismal .125

Thus, unless your pitching staff is trotting out Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz,
and Steve Avery, you are not going to win many baseball games when sporting those
offensive numbers.

3 Up


Jon Lester (Kelly O’Conner/Sitting Still)

Jon Lester

Over Lester’s last five starts, he has allowed a mere four earned runs in 37 2/3 innings
pitched while pitching into the seventh and often the eighth inning in every one of those
five. Over his last two starts, Lester has pitched sixteen straight shutout innings while
surrendering ten hits, two walks, and striking out thirteen.

His K/9 is currently sitting at 9.0, which is the best it has been since 2010, while is BB/9
is 2.14 which is the best in his career. Finally, his peripherals are in line
with what he has been producing on a regular basis: 2.75 FIP, 3.19xFIP, and 3.19 SIERA
— all of which are career bests with the exception of a 3.09 xFIP in 2009.

In short, Jon Lester is an ace, he is one of the best pitchers in baseball, and deserves to
be paid, but you already knew this. If the Red Sox do not give him a large contract,
someone else will.

Stephen Drew

Drew hit two home runs during Saturday’s double header against Baltimore… He is alive! **I’m
grasping for straws here**

Dustin Pedroia

After an extremely slow start (especially for Pedroia), Pedroia, in the span of two weeks,
has raised his average from .263 on June 18 to .284 after Sunday’s 3-6 performance
against Baltimore. How has he done it? According to Fire Brand’s Andre Khatchaturian,
Pedroia is becoming for aggressive early in counts:

Over the last five games, though, Dustin has become more

In 23 plate appearances over the last five games, he’s only
swung once and taken just 12 strikes. (The one time he took a hack, he got a hit.)

The difference has come after the first pitch.
(He’s also been aided by pitchers missing the strike zone. Ten counts have started at 1-0
which has undoubtedly been advantageous for Pedroia.) Pitchers have been pounding
the strike zone more often against Pedroia but he’s swinging the bat and it’s translating
into results.

Pedroia’s overall swing rate is 42 percent this season, but
in the last five games it’s over 62 percent after the first pitch. As a result, Pedroia’s
pitches per plate appearance has dropped significantly.”

Yet, even with Pedroia’s increased productivity the Red Sox
still can’t seem to put a win streak together. After today, they have dropped 5 of their
last 6 all of which were a part of their current eleven game home stand.

3 Down

John Lackey

After Lackey shut out the Twins on June 18, things have not gone well for the big right-
hander. Over his last three starts Lackey has pitched 14 innings while surrendering 16
earned runs, 23 hits, and only making it into the sixth inning once.

Yet, despite the struggles he has endured over the last three outings, Lackey is actually
turning in one of the best seasons of his career. His K/9 (8.13) is the best it has been
since 2005 while his 1.76 BB/9 and 3.08 xFIP are the best they have been in his career.

Xander Bogaerts

On June 19, when the Red Sox embarked on their seven game West Coast road trip,
Bogaerts began what can easily be called the worst hitting slump of his career. Since
that day Bogaerts has played in thirteen games and gone a combined 4-55. He does not
have a single extra base hit in that time frame and has only scored two runs and driven
in one (last night against Baltimore).

Farrell has been quoted as saying there are no plans to send the young third baseman
down to AAA to work on his swing. Since the Red Sox regard Bogaerts as a centerpiece
for their future, they believe he can figure out his struggles at the highest level. Yet, in order
for Bogaerts to improve, he is going to have to stop swinging at pitches outside the
strike zone. If you take a look at the heat map below (courtesy of Brooks Baseball) you
can see that Bogaerts is having a tough time laying off pitches outside of the strike
zone, particularly away from him. And, if you have been watching him recently, you
know he has been struggling mightily on sliders from right handers that tail away from

Bogaerts' swing rate since June 18

Bogaerts’ swing rate since June 18

Many other Boston Red Sox

Insert player here: _________________________

Thus, if the Red Sox want to have any hope over these last three months of the baseball season, they better get hot, and fast. Will they? If the first 88 games are any indication, then, no they will not. Perhaps it really is time to begin to look towards 2015 and sell off some of the older Sox for building blocks of the future.