With the Boston Red Sox posting more than three runs just once in the past ten games, it is clear that their two extra inning wins did not jump start the offense like they would have wanted. Many players are not playing anywhere near where they should be and with the starting pitching blowing up against the Mariners, there’s no way the Sox are going to win a slugfest.
Brock Holt provided a spark to the offense and has continued to be the team’s best hitter, but he can’t do everything by himself. This is especially true considering he is rarely getting the chance to drive runners in with the poor performance of the bottom of the lineup. Although Jackie Bradley Jr. is kind of swinging the bat better, it is time to give Mookie Betts a shot at center field. The former second baseman has been playing very well in center field for Pawtucket and has been lighting up minor league pitching at a clip Jackie Bradley Jr. never did.
Betts started the year off in AA Portland, where he hit .355 with a .443/.551/.994 slash line in 54 games. Although small in stature at 5-foot-9 and 156 pounds, Betts put up 6 home runs before being promoted to Pawtucket, where he has continued to rake. In 20 games, Betts is hitting .321 with a .402/.457/.859 with two more home runs. He also has the ability to steal bases, which Bradley Jr. is still working on. With 28 stolen bases so far in the minors, Betts appears to be more resemblant of Jacoby Ellsbury than Bradley Jr. does. Of course, we can’t expect Betts’ defense to be as strong as Ellsbury or Bradley’s after only a few weeks out there.
Betts doesn’t necessarily need to play in center field for Bradley Jr. He could move around out there as we have seen Brock Holt do and maybe even play some infield as well. Shane Victorino is due to return soon with Will Middlebrooks not far behind him. Expect plenty of different combinations in the field, just as we have seen all year.
Stephen Drew hasn’t exactly been the midseason acquisition that the Sox had hoped for. His six hits in 45 at-bats make you wonder what exactly he was doing while he was waiting to be signed. If I were the Red Sox right now, I’d worry about defense after the bats start to come around. If Drew is going to add to the black hole at the bottom of the order, it will be hard for the offense to get going.
It usually doesn’t take a team half the season to figure out so many pieces on their roster, especially the year after winning the World Series. One would assume that such a dysfunctional squad wouldn’t fare so well either, which the Sox haven’t up to this point. The good thing is that once the trade deadline rolls around, there should be a good knowledge of what the team is going to look like and hopefully the boys can turn their season around.