Boston Red Sox: Grasping for answers

The Boston Red Sox are not a good team.┬áThere, I said it. And I think it’s time everybody else finally said it too.

Stop holding on to the glory of 2013 and call a spade a spade. Maybe it’s because I’m not from Boston, or maybe it’s because I have a functioning brain and understand that sports simply don’t work that way (especially baseball), but I’m just not one of those Sox fans who considers it a disappointing season if they don’t win the Fall Classic.

I expect a competitive baseball team. I expect to be in contention for an American League East pennant. And with Boston’s payroll and success in evaluating talent, I expect to be one of the 10 best teams in the league.

[Boston Red Sox: Offense continues to struggle despite sweep of Twins]

But it doesn’t necessarily work out that way just because the uniform reads Boston across the front. Not every season is going to be 2013. And not every season is going to be 2012. This year’s team feels somewhere in the middle so far. The dreaded “A” word: average.

Don’t get it twisted. I’m not writing this telling you that they can’t or won’t turn things around. But through 76 games, nothing about this team resembles anything other than mediocre. They came into the season with much of the same cast as last year’s squad- it just isn’t clicking.

Boston Red Sox

John Farrell looks to pick this Boston Red Sox team up off the mat.

You can blame it on John Farrell’s questionable managerial decisions throughout the season. Or you can try and toss the buck to Ben Cherington for putting too much faith in some of the young talent and not adding enough depth at certain positions. All valid points with hindsight being 20/20. But when it comes down to it, we all know that the guys on the field determine the L’s and W’s.

Not counting today’s 7-6 victory over the Oakland Athletics, the Boston Red Sox had scored just 15 runs in their last 8 games. The offense–which ranks 23rd in MLB in runs scored at 3.8 per game–is in neutral and is far and away their biggest issue.

The struggle is still very real with runners in scoring position with the Sox collecting just a .679 OPS. Add that to declining power numbers across the board (just 53 home runs as a team), and a station-to-station base running approach (3rd worst stolen base percentage in MLB), and you’ve got a recipe for failure.

It will certainly be interesting to see how the Red Sox approach the next few weeks leading up the trade deadline. If they continue their current trend, Boston might find themselves as sellers in mid July! That’s a wild thought. If they can man up and get to a respectable mark by the All-Star break, the Sox have a few ways to get things going.

One of those routes is to call up Mookie Betts, who has soared through the Red Sox’ farm system, hitting everywhere he’s been. I’ll have more on that later this week.

The other route is to let Ben Cherington get his evil genius on and make some moves. Part of that might involve shaking up the starting rotation a bit in favor for an outfielder. With Brandon Workman and Rubby De La Rosa waiting in the wings, Jake Peavy is a name that comes to mind as a guy who might have some trade value for a National League squad looking for a savvy veteran. Will Middlebrooks is another guy who could be on the move, but I doubt the Sox would want to move him with his value so low. I’ll have more on those two ideas later this week as well.

For now, the Red Sox continue to grasp for answers while trying to stay above water. We’ll find out in the coming weeks if they are going to sink or swim.

 

Visit the Boston Red Sox team page for more news and opinions and be sure to check out my articles later this week on Mookie Betts, and some trade rumors with Middlebrooks and Peavy.