Time to toss some stats out at you: 3 HR, 21 RBI and a slash of .267/.340/.376. What are your first thoughts when looking at that?
For me, they’re decent numbers. Nothing really jumps off the page, but I certainly wouldn’t categorize those as the numbers of a bad player.
The next number is three. That’s the spot in the batting order this player is currently hitting. Now that makes the previous stats a bit more troublesome.
The final number is .214. That’s the batting average of this player with runners in scoring position. Sound the emergency alarm.
The player who these numbers belong to is Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia was already not-your-typical three-hole hitter, but at least last year he was hitting for average and producing runs with his limited power; the lack of home runs from the three-hole could be tolerated. This season the power is still missing, but so are the runs.
Pedroia is 8-37 in his last ten games and the closest he has been to a .300 average is when he was at .289 back on May 11. Part of me is hoping that his wrist is still to blame; at least that would be healable and after recovery he could potentially return to his old self.
The question becomes, how long will the Red Sox keep mediocrity in the three-hole? For a team that is struggling to score runs, they could use some production out of that spot.
David Ortiz seems the most likely candidate to move there if they make a change. While he’s only hitting .251, he has at least been able to plate a few runs.
John Farrell could also choose to flip-flop with Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts. The third-baseman is viewed as the number three hitter of the future and he’s been hitting for contact and a little bit of power as of late, so why not give him a chance while moving Pedey back to the two-hole?
Pedroia has a lot of accolades and respect in Boston, so he’ll be given a longer leash in most situations than other players. But if both the team and Pedroia continue with this mediocrity, it may be time to accept that another lineup shuffle could help.
And if this becomes the norm for the Red Sox $110 million dollar man? Well then we may have to view this as a bigger issue.