Red Sox: Luck and approach have caused the bats to go silent
A bit more luck would help but what the Boston Red Sox really need to turn their season around is a better approach at the plate.
In Seattle, the Boston Red Sox plated 24 runs, placing them fourth in the Major Leagues in runs scored at the time. But now, just two games later, the team has been shut out twice in a row.
Despite manager Alex Cora employing a very similar lineup, aside from moving Mookie Betts to the leadoff spot, the team has failed to score a run.
They outhit the Athletics on April 2 but failed to plate any of the runners. The team has been a victim of what some would call bad luck, as Roman Laureano made Herculean efforts to throw out Xander Bogaerts twice.
But in reality, they should have known Laureano’s strength. Bogaerts said he thought Laureano couldn’t do it twice, but the outfielder is famous around the league for his amazing throws. April 2 will not be the last time he throws someone out at third from the wall.
The strength of the Red Sox in 2018 was their ability to hit often. April is cold and the pitchers are ahead of the hitters, but the team is in danger of leaving the west coast at 1-10.
It is not as if the Red Sox have faced All-Star pitchers. Aaron Brooks was out of the league from 2015-18. Mike Fiers pitched well last season, but has a 4.02 career ERA and allowed five runs against Seattle in the Japan Series.
A change in approach could be necessary. The team is at least putting the ball in play, only striking out nine times on April 2. They had about an equal amount of flyouts and groundouts and four hard-hit balls that could have been hits if they weren’t right into the defense.
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So luck has played a part, but only three hits have gone for extra bases over the last two games.
The team can definitely work more launch angle into their swings, an important part of the approach that J.D. Martinez brought to the team last season. This way more line drives and hard-hit balls will reach the ball and even go out of the park.
Finally, two of the slowest starting hitters remain at the top of the lineup. Betts and Andrew Benintendi‘s track records have kept them in the 1 and 2 spots. Alex Cora’s reliance on confidence means he won’t be moving them down anytime soon. But if they continue to fail to hit, a switch may be in order.
Mitch Moreland is hitting .294, yet his bat is buried in the 6th spot. He could be a candidate to hit 2nd. Blake Swihart could also deserve a few starts after his impressive spring.
Steve Pearce and Dustin Pedroia‘s return to both the clubhouse and the lineup could also add a needed boost. While both are still a few days away from joining the team, their presence on this road trip could give the team added confidence. Both are working on their launch angle this season, and Pearce was a huge contributor, winning the World Series MVP.
Two games is a small sample size, equating to just over one percent of the season. But the Red Sox’s quiet bats could be a sign of things to come. If the team can’t hit by the time they leave Oakland, changes could be in order.