There’s really no way to sugarcoat it, the Red Sox offense has been abysmal for the better part of the 2015 season. This fact was reaffirmed during Tuesday night’s loss against the Minnesota Twins in which the team managed to tally just one run against another league average pitcher.
Entering the year, the notion around Red Sox Nation was that Boston would make up for their lack of pitching with a high powered offense. On paper, adding Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval to a lineup that already featured proven veteran bats like David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia seemed like a great way to produce a well balanced offensive attack. Gone was to 2014 method of relying on rookies and young players to shoulder a big offensive load, instead the multitude of veterans seemed like a guaranteed offense.
However, aside from a hot start to the season which featured a 8 run bludgeoning of the Phillies, Boston’s offense has fallen short of the high expectations. Through just under two months this season, the Red Sox’ bats are slashing a combined .240/.314/.371 with an equally mediocre 89 WRC+.
Following a scorching hot April, Hanley Ramirez has plummeted back to earth, and is hitting just .218 with one RBI in the month of May. David Ortiz, albeit a habitual slow starter, is slugging just .386 through his first 180 plate appearances, and is just 9 for his last 50. Although Mike Napoli has been heating up at the plate as of late, he entered his hot streak sporting an average below the Mendoza line, with just 13 RBI through his first 140 trips to the plate. Other struggles can be found elsewhere in the lineup too — like Mookie Betts’ inability to elevate his OBP, or in the offensive black hole that is right field.
Looking at the offense on paper, and seeing the results so far is absolutely perplexing. But there are reasons to think a turn around can happen relatively soon. Firstly, Boston bats hold the 29th lowest strikeout percentage in the league and the 5th best walk percentage. This suggests that the team is putting together hard fought at-bats and the “grind it out” approach that John Farrell preaches has not been lost on the hitters. On top of that, the Red Sox feature a collective BABIP of .268, which is the worst in the league. One would figure that such an unruly number can be maintained for very much longer.
When you consider the assebly of players that Boston currently features on the 25-man roster, one would assume that this early season funk is not sustainable. Of course the sample size of the teams shoddy performance is growing by the day, the past numbers on hitters up and down the lineup suggest a much different outcome. Even amidst their struggles, however, the Red Sox are continuing to put up competitive at-bats, while luck usually plays for the other team.
- The Red Sox summoned top pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez from triple-A Pawtucket to make a spot start on Thursday against the Texas Rangers. While it’s unknown just how long Rodriguez will be a member of the starting rotation, it appears as though his major league debut will push back Steven Wright’s turn. (LHP Eduardo Rodriguez called up to Red Sox to make Thursday start vs Texas Rangers)
- Although it’s only late-May, the Red Sox postseason hopes are quickly dwindling. Through 45 games this season, Boston finds themselves at 21-24 and falling. At their current rate, Boston will need to defy the last 100 years of baseball to secure a playoff position. (Red Sox postseason hopes face long odds)
- For the second straight time in his last two at-bats against left handed pitching, Pablo Sandoval collected a hit from the left side of the plate. While abandoning his switch hitting approach for just 2 at-bats doesn’t give us a large sample size by any stretch, the third baseman’s ugly splits could lead to further experimentation against southpaws. (Pablo Sandoval might continue hitting left-on-left)
- Tweet of the day: Same old news…
"Red Sox pretty awful. News at 10"
— OverTheMonster (@OverTheMonster) May 27, 2015