Parade of near-no-hitters sums up Red Sox struggles in 2014


The Red Sox were shut out 11 times last season, a year they led the league in runs scored and won the World Series. Just goes to show how good pitching can beat good hitting any given night.

But 2014 has been ridiculous.

With Matt Shoemaker and Co.’s dismantling of the Boston offense (a single lonely hit in a 2-0 loss to the Angels) on Thursday night, it marked the 12th time the Red Sox have been shut out in 2014.

And there are more than five weeks left in the season.

It was also the fifth time an opposing pitcher carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the punchless Boston bats. In 2014, “any given night” has felt like every night.

The near-no-hit parade started back on May 9th. Yu Darvish carried a no-no into the ninth and was one out away before David Ortiz broke up the party with a base hit in Carl Everett-like fashion. Darvish made the Sox look silly as he tallied 12 strikeouts on the evening.

Fast forward to June 30th and two names you wouldn’t expect. The first, Jake Arrieta. A mess with the Orioles, the righty has been reborn with the Cubs this season and the Red Sox helped him to that end –  seven and 2/3 hitless innings. Stephen Drew, of all people, broke the thing up. Arrieta also reached double-digit strikeouts with 10 K’s.

Rookies want a piece of the action? Step right up, Marcus “The Abominable” Stroman. You too, had a shot at the no-no, taking one into the seventh inning of just your 10th Major League start on July 24th. Stroman only tallied seven K’s on the afternoon, but came back to go one better the following week, striking out eight Boston batters in a nifty seven inning outing.

Think the offense has improved since the trade deadline? Not when Garrett Richards took the mound against the Sox on August 9th. Richards’ dominance was overshadowed by the fact that this one took 19 innings to solve, with Boston hitters taking extended naps through extras.

And then, last night with Shoemaker.

The Red Sox are 27th in baseball in runs scored. Their former ace, ignominiously dumped on the Dodgers two summers ago, threw a no-hitter in May. A pitcher who went 1-9 in a Boston uniform this season flirted with a perfect game in his second start with the Giants. It’s been one of those years.

But with 2013 heroes badly fading and a transition on the horizon, it will be on Ben Cherington to make sure it doesn’t happen again.