Red Sox Strut 2016: Week Three
The weekly article series where we examine the two players who deserve to strut their stuff for the Boston Red Sox. This week — Steven Wright and Mookie Betts.
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.
It wasn’t a great week for the Red Sox by any means. They went 2-5 in the seven total games and had some rough pitching performance over the course of the week. The offense did struggle in a couple of the games, but the majority of the issues certainly fell at the feet of the pitchers as the Sox were outscored 37-30 in those games. However, there were still some key performances to stop the bleeding.
PITCHING: Steven Wright does the Knuckle Strut
Coming into the season, David Price was the clear favorite to be the best starter on the Sox staff for obvious reasons. So far, Price hasn’t exactly been able to put it all together, and he had a rough start this week against his former mates in Tampa Bay only managing to go 3.2 innings and giving up eight runs on eight hits, two walks and two homeruns.
Clay Buchholz started two games and earned himself a no decision and a loss. Clay actually didn’t pitch horribly. He was able to get through 6-plus innings against Toronto on Patriots Day, but the Sox couldn’t put runs on the board. On Saturday, a mistake pitch to Colby Rasmus led to a game-changing grand slam and an Astros win. Buchholz still can’t seem to put everything together to become a consistent pitcher.
Unfortunately for Boston, Joe Kelly ran into shoulder issues in his start against the Rays and has now been place on the DL. Henry Owens has been called up to fill in for Kelly in the meantime.
With no true great performance from the bullpen although they’ve been over-worked, that leaves two starters left to get the Strut honors. While Rick Porcello’s performance on Wednesday night against Tampa was key in that he was able to go seven strong innings with nine strikeouts and give the bullpen some much needed rest, the knuckleballer Steven Wright gets to Strut this week.
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In what could be considered a big surprise to some, Wright has been the best starting pitcher for the Red Sox thus far in 2016. He eats up inning, works quickly, looks confident and gets results. Wright pitched last Sunday against the Jays, and yes, he got the loss, but he didn’t deserve it. He pitched well going six innings giving up six hits and two runs with no walks and six strikeouts. He then pitched on Friday in Houston and baffled the Astros going 6.2 innings and only giving up one run on four hits. While he did walk five batters, he also sat six batters down by way of the K and never let the walks hurt him. No one thought it would come to this, but Wright deserves the honors of the best pitcher of the week, and the best pitcher so far for this up-and-down team. He always gives the team a chance to win and gives them quality starts every time out. On a team that lacks consistency, the balance that Wright provides is a welcome
POSITION PLAYER: Mookie Betts does the Mookie-Mania Strut
I think Sox fans would agree that the main issue with this team so far is that the starting pitching hasn’t done enough to keep them in games, however the offense has also had its fair share of problems. Boston didn’t score a ton of runs early in the week, but they were able to get plenty of runners across the plate in the latter half of those seven games.
Hanley Ramirez has cooled down with only two game with more than one hit over the course of the week and three games where he didn’t record a hit at all. His average is down to .265. Xander Bogaerts has also cooled down a bit and had a couple injury scares in the last few games. In fact, he was given the day off on Saturday.
While the veteran leaders of the team in Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz have attempted to do their part and are putting in exceptional efforts, the player that ruled the week for the Sox offense was Mookie Betts. Mookie went 10-31 (.323) for the week with six RBI and two homeruns. After only recording one hit in the first three games of the week, Betts exploded out of his slump with nine hits in his last four games. He also added a stolen base.
Next: Red Sox John Farrell is not the problem, per se
It’s very important for Betts to continue his hot streak in order for the offense to keep rolling. He is at the top of the lineup and clearly provides a spark for this team when he is swinging the bat the way he has been recently. Also, his play in the field has been stellar as he has shown some great athleticism on a few plays this week. I for one am certainly hoping that we’ll be able to award Mookie with plenty of opportunities to Strut his stuff this season.