Red Sox Strut: Week 5 – The Panda struts with Clay


Now, to fully understand what the Red Sox Strut is, it means to have reason to walk with a confident, proud air around you. Some people mistake it for vanity, arrogance, or being pompous. This incorrect assumption is not what we mean. The Strut is about knowing that your deeds showed off your amazing skills to the baseball-loving public.


Since last week’s “Strut” the Red Sox have gone 2-4. They are three games under .500 and just haven’t been able to get rolling so far this season. While most of the discussion has surrounded the lack of consistency from the pitching staff, and deservedly so considering pitching coach Juan Nieves was relieved of his duties a mere month into the baseball year, the Red Sox bats were not making up for the lack of pitching in many of Week 5’s games.

Mike Napoli continues to struggle, and Blake Swihart hasn’t been able to create much offense since he’s been thrown into the mix. Xander Bogaerts has been average all year. Jackie Bradley Jr. was recently called up to the big club and will be someone to keep an eye on after tearing it up in Pawtucket for a month as well as having a good deal of success in Spring Training.

Noticeably absent from all of the “Struts” so far is clubhouse leader David Ortiz. Big Papi hasn’t looked like the same guy at the plate thus far, but may be changing that as he’s started to hit in the last couple games. Hanley Ramirez missed some time in the last week due to a sore shoulder, but he’s recently returned and continues to lead the team in RBI with 22.

Dustin Pedroia and Mookie Betts, both previous recipients of the “Strut”, have probably been the most consistent all year for Boston and that continued in Week 5. Pedroia got at least one hit in all six games, drew three walks and knocked in four runs. Even when the rest of the team is struggling, like in last week’s games in Toronto and last night in Oakland, Pedroia still finds ways to contribute. Mookie added seven hits of his own, including a double, triple and a homerun in separate games. He also has the second most RBI on the team with 20 – compare that to David Ortiz’ 13 and you start to get an idea of what is going on with this team.

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While one could certainly argue that Mookie’s performance the last week should allow him to strut for the second week in a row, we’re going to allow the Panda to strut his stuff this week – now that’s some interesting imagery for you! Pablo Sandoval leads the team in batting average by far – he’s the only batter hitting over .300 (.302 to be exact). He also leads the team in OBP (.372) and total hits with 35.

Sandoval had six hits total on the week, and although he’s been a singles machine for the Red Sox, he also added a double and two homeruns this week. Monday night’s homerun was his only hit of the night but it was a huge one – it won the game for the Sox in the eleventh in Oakland. Now STRUT PANDA … STRUT!


Who deserves the chance to strut for this weak pitching staff? As quiet as the bats were at times, it’s been an even tougher week for the starting staff. After Juan Nieves lost his job, John Farrell and Ben Cherington were hoping that a change and a new voice in Carl Willis would possibly help turn things around. Only time will tell on that front, and it’s far too soon to decide anything about Willis.

In the last week, Justin Masterson was rocked by Tampa and Oakland and is starting to look like a lost cause, Wade Miley scattered eight hits and four runs in only six innings against the Jays despite having 8 K’s, Joe Kelly was all over the place in his start against Toronto and failed to get through six innings, and Rick Porcello threw over 100 pitches in just five inning in a start versus Oakland and may have had his worst start in a Red Sox uniform.

The bullpen has been decent when you consider just how much work they’ve been forced to go through with so many starts only going about five innings. They’ve seen some good outings from Alexi Ogando, Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa. Koji Uehara looks to be back on track, although he hasn’t seen many save opportunities.

Once again, almost by default, Clay Buchholz is allowed to strut in Week 5. Buchholz had another strong start in Toronto on Sunday going 6.1 innings and scattering seven hits, three runs, three walks and three strikeouts. He had command of his fastball and breaking stuff and didn’t allow base runners to effect his work on the mound. Despite the lack of confidence in Clay as an ace at the start of the season, he has clearly been the anchor of this staff. Take that for what it’s worth…and watch Clay strut for the second time this season.

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