Less pressing Red Sox issues: Constant "platooning" of lineups & offensive inconsistency
Issue 3 - Platooning lineups
In terms of slightly less pressing issues, first up we have the constant platooning of lineups each week. Now, am I saying every starter should play every game and the lineup should never change? Absolutely not. However, we saw Alex Verdugo as a healthy scratch tonight in favor of Raimel Tapia, as well as this constant back and forth between Reese McGuire and Connor Wong.
While I do think McGuire is a decent enough catcher, I also believe the growth of Connor is being stunted by not playing at least 80% of the games. The whole point of McGuire getting time was his ability to hit, which he does to an extent, with a good .293 batting average. However, in 82 plate appearances, he has 10 RBI, no home runs, eight runs, and only a .318 OBP. Connor Wong on the other hand is hitting .243, which is down comparatively, but has a .294 OBP with five home runs, 13 RBI, 19 runs, in 120 plate appearances, with significantly better defense.
Comparing their pop time defensively from BaseballSavant, Reese ranks in the 18th percentile, which is extremely poor. Connor on the other hand ranks in the 85th percentile, which is pretty exceptional for a player without a ton of major league playing time.
Resolution: Allow Connor to get more playing time, even against pitchers he is not favorable against. If he has a significant drop-off, then go back to the platooning split. But giving Wong a chance to really show he has the ability to be the full-time starting catcher would be beneficial in the long term if he has what it takes. Also, be slightly more consistent with lineups, and let the stars of the team play. Obviously, rotate in and out as needed, but let it be for a bit.
Issue 4 - Offensive inconsistency
This is an extremely prevelant issue these past few games, no doubt. However, this is also due to injury as well as a combination with the platooning issue mentioned above. Getting Adam Duvall back in early June should help bring a spark to the offense, as well as Trevor Story when his recovery is completed.
However, in the short term, it could definitely be a "tripping hazard" of sorts for the Sox. Despite an eight-run game against the Reds to open the series, they also scored zero in the first six innings, and only three through eight innings. During this eight-game span, they have scored more than two runs only three times, and have been shut out twice. Until Duvall is integrated into the offense again, something needs to change.
Resolution: This one is tricky, as it relies heavily upon luck as well as injuries being cleared. However, the struggle displayed by Rafael Devers lately is not helping. Giving him some more time in the batting cages with the hitting coach to really hone in on good and bad pitches to swing at is crucial. He has these streaks during the year sometimes and then breaks out of them in a big way. Ensuring this happens sooner rather than later needs to be a priority. Also, considering Pablo Reyes at shortstop for a while should help as well as he was hitting relatively effectively alongside his defensive capabilities.