Red Sox, AL East Roundup: April to May 2015
May 1, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielderMookie Betts
(50) hits a sacrifice fly during the third inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Red Sox (12-13, .480)
Overall Record & Last 10 games:
They are 6-7 at home, 6-6 away. However, if the word ‘consistent’ comes to mind, think again. They have lost seven of their last ten games, including a big series loss to their arch rivals the Yankees, over the weekend. Instead of picking up a few games against the division leader, the Red Sox got swept, like insignificant dust behind the doors of your house: disposed quickly. Big home runs have either brought the team back into the game or have even made the day victorious, but they can’t always be there for you or Boston. The Red Sox need to keep games much closer to have a chance to win.
- Christian Vazquez was to be the starting catcher, after having a great season in 2014. However, he required Tommy John surgery in April, after sustaining an injury in Spring Training. He will not return until 2016.
- Backup catcher Ryan Hanigan became the starter, after the Vazquez injury, but picked up a fracture in his right hand which required him to be put on the 60-day DL effective May 2nd. Top prospect Blake Swihart has been called up to help, although he will be sharing the duties with the other veterans already on the squad.
- Outfielder Shane Victorino‘s right hamstring strain has been healing and will require a stint on the rehab assignment list, this week.
- Starting Rotation – Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Justin Masterson, Wade Miley, Joe Kelly
- The team’s ERA is 5.04, just below the Blue Jays for worst pitching in the division and the entire American League. Whether home or away, Boston can’t seem to get the consistent pitching that they were hoping to get, this spring.
- While the Red Sox pitchers have 205 strikeouts, which makes them one of the leaders in the category, they were built and expected to be a groundball team, looking to put the ball in play to get quick outs.
- Not unexpectedly, when you try to get strikeouts, you leave yourself open to home runs. The Red Sox have given up the second-highest in the league with 29 home runs.
- The strikeouts have helped manage a middle-of-the-pack placement in terms of opposing team batting average (.262). However, Boston giving up 134 runs this early in the season means that they are often playing catch-up, with wins almost never in sight by the end of nine innings.
- Considering the Red Sox have only scored 122 runs, compared to that pitching total, their weakness keeps them on the losing end of games very often.
- As a team, they are hitting only .243, so their 29 home runs and 115 RBIs suggest that production is based on the long ball. The strategy of waiting out starting pitchers to get to their bullpen doesn’t work when your own starters have buried the team in an eight-run hole before the seventh inning.
- The .985 fielding percentage is not unexpected, since there are many veterans in the infield and outfield. They have 14 errors as a team, putting them in the middle of the American League in defense. Even incredible diving catches in the outfield are only one out apiece. The pitchers need to help the team out, to allow them to show their skills in the infield, with more groundballs.
Keep Your Eyes On:
- Mookie Betts – Hanley Ramirez aside, the Red Sox have not done much in terms of production. Occasionally, the veterans come through with some situational hitting, but it all starts with the leadoff spot. Betts has a great center field glove, but it is his offense that needs to shine through. In his last 10 games, Betts has 10 hits and 6 RBIs. He has also crossed home plate 6 times. If the Red Sox will have any chance at turning their fortunes around, the pitching will have to improve, while Betts sets the table for the big bats in the heart of the order to consistently drive him home.