The Boston Red Sox offense has been scuffling to say the least. Before Shane Victorino’s return from the DL, the outfielders had a combined batting average of .197, which needs a hefty increase if the Red Sox want to be as productive as they were a year ago. Even after last night’s 8-1 victory over Toronto, the Red Sox still rank 27th in average with runners in scoring position at .215, 16th in runs, and 18th in batting average. Last year, those numbers were at 3rd, 1st, and 3rd respectively. Clearly, timely hitting has not been the team’s strong suit to this point, but that needs to change and probably will. Currently, David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, Grady Sizemore, Xander Bogaerts, A.J. Pierzynski, and the since sent down Daniel Nava are all batting under .200 with runners in scoring position. That helps explain the eight games with three runs scored or less.
The good news is that the lineup is starting to look normal to some extent. With our new look outfield of Grady Sizemore, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Shane Victorino, the team should get a boost on both offense and defense. Bradley had a great game last night and continues to show promising signs, while Victorino is hoping to get into the swing of things a couple of games into his season. Sizemore is slumping a bit since his strong start, but that is expected for a man who hasn’t played in two years.
The infield is healthy again as well, and Will Middlebrooks is hoping to add some pop to the bottom half of the order. The Red Sox only have four home runs from the six to nine spots in the order, including Middlebrooks’ the game before he went on the DL. The 25-year-old third baseman had a promising return, getting on base three times and hitting the ball to the opposite field. The Red Sox need him to drive in runs to take some of the pressure off the top of the lineup.
With the Red Sox pitching staff mediocre performance so far, the Red Sox need all the run support they can get. Clay Buchholz continues to look bad, while Felix Doubront hasn’t found his stuff either. The team needs to win the close games they have been losing to this point and back up their pitchers. Jon Lester has already lost two quality starts and he and John Lackey have been the two most reliable pitchers to date. For the Red Sox’ sake and for the fans’ sake, let’s just hope the offense stays healthy and has more games like the 16 hit, eight run outbursts like last night, which should be enough for the pitchers.