Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
It’s the bottom of the 7th in a 2-2 game against the Athletics this past Sunday night, and Dustin Pedroia steps to the plate with Xander Bogaerts 90 feet away on third base. It’s a chance to give the Sox the lead and potentially push them back to .500, but Pedroia grounds out weakly to Josh Donaldson to end the inning.
Flash forward to the bottom of the 10th and the A’s lead 3-2. Jackie Bradley Jr. is on first and Pedroia once again comes to the plate. He hits another grounder, this time to Jed Lowrie at short, starting a game ending double play.
After 2013, it’s not a sight we’re used to seeing. As fans, we have come to expect that if the Sox have chances, they’ll capitalize. Especially when they are able to get guys like Pedroia and David Ortiz to the plate with runners on base. But it just hasn’t been the case so far this season.
With runners on base in 2013, Pedroia hit .306. David Ortiz? He hit .330. And as a team the Sox hit .285 with men aboard.
This season in the same situation, Pedroia is hitting .235 while Ortiz is hitting .264. As one might expect, the club average with guys on base has suffered as a result, dropping all the way to .239.
Grady Sizemore, Bradley Jr., and A.J. Pierzynski are statistically the top three regulars with men on base. The problem with that is all three of them are usually batting somewhere in the 6-9 range in the batting order (Sizemore’s sometimes fifth, but I think we can all agree he should be further down in the order based on the rest of his numbers). That’s good in the sense that they can occasionally drive some of the big bats home, but Pierzynski and Bradley Jr. should not have more combined RBI than Pedroia and Ortiz (which they do, 28-27).
In an earlier piece, I talked about how the Sox have been inconsistent offensively because of injuries and health issues. Well now they seem to have their regulars back and yet we’re still sitting here, waiting for them to rattle off a few wins in a row.
The starting pitching has started to find a groove lately and if we’re being fair, both Ortiz and Pedroia have shown signs of life. But the Sox still need more from these two. I really don’t want to spend the season wishing Pierzynski was coming to the plate.