Should Red Sox be concerned with alarming strikeout numbers to start 2024 season?

Boston Red Sox v Seattle Mariners
Boston Red Sox v Seattle Mariners / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox have been racking up strikeouts to begin the 2024 season. As of April 5, the Red Sox have struck out 72 times as a team.

Many chalked up Boston's offensive struggles to the quality of the pitchers it's faced so far. The Red Sox opened the season against the Seattle Mariners, a squad with one of the most fearsome starting rotations in the American League. Luis Castillo, George Kirby and Logan Gilbert headline Seattle's star-studded staff.

But the Sox's strikeout issues continued into their series with the Oakland Athletics. Boston was struck out by the A's staff 11 times on the night of April 1.

After the Red Sox's shockingly good spring training, the stark increase in strikeouts has come as a surprise. The season is so young it's hard to get an exact reading on Boston's issues, but a few come to mind.

The Red Sox have struck out at a high clip in their first five games

The Sox have a fair few free swingers on the roster to begin the 2024 campaign. Rafael Devers had to sit for two games with shoulder soreness, which afforded Bobby Dalbec a starting opportunity. Dalbec is known to strike out often, which is likely among the factors that kept him off the major league roster for the past two seasons. In six at-bats, he's struck out five times and is yet to record a hit.

Ceddanne Rafaela and Wilyer Abreu have little big-league experience between the two of them on top of the fact that they both swing and miss quite a bit. If Rafaela was going to miss the Opening Day roster this season, it would have been to give him more time to fine-tune his eye in Triple-A. Abreu had a rough spring training and his swing decisions have been poor, especially for someone who had success in his short 2023 stint in the major leagues.

After his dominance in the second half of last season, Triston Casas has stalled at the plate so far. The first baseman is known to struggle against left-handed pitching and breaking pitches. Casas has seen a lot of breaking stuff to begin his sophomore campaign and it's showing in his strikeout numbers — Trevor Story leads the Sox with nine strikeouts so far and Casas isn't far behind with eight of his own.

The 2024 Boston team is loaded with young talent that lacks consistent experience against big-league pitching, especially against hurlers of the Mariners' caliber. There is plenty of baseball season left for the Red Sox to sort out their issues at the plate

If the Red Sox pitching staff can keep throwing strikeouts at a league-leading rate, their offensive stall may not cause too many problems. But if they can't eventually start to put the ball in play at a higher clip, it's going to be hard to win games against better opponents than the A's.

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