“They are a streaky team, the 2011 Boston Red Sox. A famed 2-10 in their first stretch, the Sox rebounded on an horrific start to (at one point) lead the American League East. That time is no more. Heading into the All Star Break the BoSox have been floundering again, this time to the tune of 1-5, all of those games against National League teams.
The Senior Circuit has not been kind to the boys from Boston. Both the San Diego Padres and the Pittsburgh Pirates handled their foes from Fenway with ease. Last night the Philadelphia Phillies shutout the Sox on a complete game effort from Cliff Lee. Some talking heads are pointing to the outfield platoon as the problem, some are gesturing toward David Ortiz’s absence from the lineup.
No matter what the fix is here, it isn’t an easy one.
While the Sox lineup was almost completely quiet last night, Josh Beckett gave up five runs. In Boston’s lone win of their last six games the team coughed up two fielding errors to Pittsburgh’s four. It is safe to say that that competition was a battle for who sucked less at the time.
To be fair not every aspect of these last half dozen games was bad. If you go back to the start of the series against the Padres and note the score of that game, you’ll see that just by limiting these Red Sox to the six game stretch I’m singling out I am wiping them clean of a dominant effort (one I was lucky to witness personally in the Friendly Confines). Beating San Diego 14-5, the Sox played a tight one until the 7th when they exploded and batted around the order in that inning. It was like watching a t-ball game.
But where the Sox are streaky, the Pads proved steady. In each of their efforts against the Sox this season, the team which let Adrian Gonzalez become a member of the Boston Red Sox scored exactly 5 runs. That was far too little in the first game of the set, but it proved exponentially better than the home team’s effort for the remaining two games of that series. The Padres outscored Boston 10-5 over the back two thirds of their visit to Beantown. Losing game 1 meant nothing after that.
Maybe morale is down. Maybe there is truth to the Ortiz-absence theory. The outfield is definitely lacking offensively, but will the addition of Gonzalez to its ranks improve the Sox or keep them on their same downward spiral?
There is really no question that having a middle of the order tandem such as Ortiz and Gonzalez improves a team’s chances offensively. And the spark for the team of simply knowing they have a feared hitter in the middle of their order as opposed to the likes of Darnell McDonald or Mike Cameron will prove positive. Either way I wouldn’t personally change much about this team. They are, after all, holders of one of the best records in the Majors right now.
The only thing that is certain about this Boston team is that they are in fact streaky with their wins and losses. Anything beyond that can only be construed as an assumption at this point. Accusations of dismal pitching or anemic hitting to this point in the season are moot. Rest easy Sox fans. The laser show is coming. There’s just something gumming up the works at the moment.”