Red Sox need an infusion of baseball fundamentals

Oct 2, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez shares a laugh with designated hitter David Ortiz (34) prior to a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 2, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez shares a laugh with designated hitter David Ortiz (34) prior to a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Red Sox have a world of talent, but appear stagnant, ill-prepared and fundamentally weak. Maybe an infusion of spirit is needed?

My affinity for coffee rolls does have consequences – our ingrain bad habits usually do. One item is minimized by running an extra mile or two or at my age waddling an extra mile. The other item of note is heavy foods that will certainly make you lethargic. From what has been given to me by spouse – Ms. Nutrition Expert – a high-fat food can induce a lack of motivation and decreased performance.

From what I have seen of the Boston Red Sox the team must have a pre and post-game buffet that would make Dr. Oz cringe. My assumption is that one of their prime sponsors – Dunkin’ Donuts – probably brings in a small mountain of various treats. The team often appears to be one step behind offensively and defensively.

Base running should be a plus with the Red Sox. Last season they managed to get steals at critical junctures. In April of 2016, the Red Sox pilfered 21 bases compared to a miserable ten this season. A team that has issues generating runs now suddenly puts on the breaks? Even the risk versus reward method of last season seems to have vanished.

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Doubles are another category where the Red Sox have gone offensively south. Granted, David Ortiz is gone and Papi was an extra-base provocateur, but the team has gone from 66 doubles to just 39 in one season. Some may be the power outage and some may be a certain trepidation on taking the chance of an extra base.

Triples also are sometimes a byproduct of the combination of speed and aggressiveness – that has gone from nine to a mere three in a 2016/17 comparison. The keyword in the previous sentence is “aggressive.” This edition of your Boston Red Sox seems to be waiting for the game to come to them rather than taking the game to their opponents.

Along those lines of aggressiveness and generating runs is a very basic and simple baseball tool – bunting. The latest statistic shows the Red Sox have exactly zero sacrifices. With a lineup that has some rather porous offensive holes just maybe it would be a good idea to attempt to incorporate that skill into producing runs.

Inattentive play one would expect in a tee ball or little league environment as player’s concentration shifts to observing nature or lost in the daydreams of youth. That seems to have become a benchmark for this squad as all too often someone misses the cutoff, wanders away from the bases, falls to take an extra base or balls just bounce off gloves.

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In 2016 the Red Sox fielders had just 76 errors for the entire slate. Now there are leading the American League with 26. I would attempt to do the full season projections, but as I go north of 100 I simply give up. This edition has gone from excellent defense to sloppy squared defense.

Why has this team lost focus?

There have been no startling changes in the Red Sox. The contributions of Marco Hernandez in the field certainly has affected the error total, but last season third base also accounted for 26 miscues. This is a team-wide malady that has also infected Gold Glove honoree at first base Mitch Moreland. Moreland had just two errors at first in 2016 and already has three.

The very basics of the game have suddenly vanished – the little things such as moving a runner over, capturing an extra base and even the simple task of hitting a cutoff have become a lost art. To be very blunt this team appears on cruise control and is quite fortunate to be 15-13 at this juncture.

Just what level of responsibility rests on the manager? John Farrell has not lost control of the club, but as far as motivating that seems to have vanished. Maybe Torey Lovullo was more important than given credit for?

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The Red Sox miss Ortiz’ bat, but they may miss his spirit more. This is not a startling revelation as it has been discussed many times including this board. I was neutral regarding the issue since enough veterans were present to provide both game and clubhouse leadership. I was wrong. It is simply not present. So just maybe an infusion of Papi could help the cause? An addition to the coaching staff if only temporarily or for partial games may be enough to generate a pulse.