Red Sox Strut: week nine – A repeat performance

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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.

POSITION PLAYER:
The Red Sox have continued their up and down season in the last week. Just when you think they may be gaining some momentum, a horrible performance or a game that looks like they just never came to play in the first place will occur and lead to a losing streak. While there were major concerns surrounding the starting pitching coming into 2015, a large portion of the issues for Boston have come at the plate.

The Red Sox have little-to-no clutch hitting. That’s what made the unlikely comeback against Oakland on Sunday so special. The man who used to be Mr. Clutch, David Ortiz, has been horrible and has fans questioning if this may finally be it for Big Papi. John Farrell has elected to sit Ortiz against lefties for the time-being considering his .114 batting average against them.

After a great April, Hanley Ramirez still hasn’t been able to get back to where he was before sitting with shoulder discomfort. He still leads the team in homeruns and RBI, which is a prime example of how bad the offense is struggling. Mike Napoli has seemingly lost his power and is barely hitting over .200. Moving Mookie Betts down in the order hasn’t helped his cause much. Pablo Sandoval is still not doing much causing fans to question the contract Boston awarded him in the offseason.

The only two consistent bats for the team all season have been Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts. Brock Holt has also been a key batter when he is called on. However, it is Pedroia that will be awarded the Strut yet again for being one of the only shining lights in the dark black hole that is the Red Sox lineup.

Pedroia leads the team in batting average (.312), OBP (.376) and total hits with 74. Every other at-bat, Pedroia seems to find a way on base and is getting big hits, whether they are singles or doubles and he even has 8 homers on the year. In the nine games since the previous Strut, Pedroia has gone 16-36 (.444) and has only one game where he didn’t record a hit. Granted he only has 2 RBI in that stretch, but that is due to the lack of men on base for the team as a whole, not to mention the fact that he has been put in the leadoff spot since he is the only man consistently getting on. He also picked up nine runs scored, a homerun and three doubles. Pedroia continues to scrap and claw every night and is the only reliable batter next to Xander.

PITCHER:
Is there really any doubt about which way we can go with this? Eduardo Rodriguez has pumped some much-needed life into the rotation and already looks to be the best starter on the staff. The 22 year old lefty has thoroughly and methodically dominated in the three starts of his young career and has once again been awarded the Strut.

In the two starts since the last Strut, Rodriguez only gave up one run improving his ERA to 0.44. He hasn’t gotten a ton of run support, especially on Tuesday night in Baltimore in a 1-0 loss, so his record isn’t perfect, but his presence on the mound has been impressive for a pitcher with little experience.

Jun 3, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (52) pitches during the first inning in game one of a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

He went seven innings against Minnesota in his Fenway debut and six innings in Baltimore with a combined 14 strikeouts and only giving up a combined five hits and five walks. His control has been superb and opposing teams look legitimately confused by all of his pitches.

Rodriguez’ starts have already become can’t-miss events amongst Red Sox fans, and he looks to be a budding superstar in another down year for Boston. If Buchholz or Porcello can put together a few good starts in a row, then the rotation can have at least two anchors at the front to lead the team.

FINAL THOUGHT:
For the second week in a row, Dustin Pedroia and Eduardo Rodriguez both get to strut their stuff on a team that is once again spiraling out of control and finds itself in last place in the AL East. I don’t want to take away anything from either of these two, but the team has been so horrific in stretches, that it’s really the only way I could go. Hopefully, by week ten’s “Red Sox Strut”, we’ll be able to honor some other players.

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