Red Sox Lose Seventh Straight Game

The Red Sox continued their losing ways last night, dropping their seventh consecutive game with a 4-2 loss to the Houston Astros. It marked their eighth loss in the last ten games, and further cemented their position in the cellar of the American League.

Since the All-Star break, the Sox have been outscored 34-9, and they have a batting Red Sox Astros July 2015average of an anemic .192. They have one home run in this period, while giving up thirteen. The Sox were shut out in the first two games of this trip, and haven’t even scored in consecutive innings yet. Their four total runs in the series against the Angels were their fewest in a series of four or more games since 1965.  Yes, that’s 50 years.

Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia, who are supposed to be table-setters, can’t even get a seat at the table.  They are a combined 2 for 42.  Betts is 1 for 20, and didn’t even play last night, while Pedroia finally snapped an 0 for 20 drought in the most recent loss.

Also in the throes of repair at the plate is the $19,750,000 per year outfielder Hanley Ramirez. He is 2 for 21 in the last six, with a team-high seven strikeouts.

How about the starting pitching staff?  They haven’t reminded anybody of Cy Young. Since the break, they are 0-5 with an ERA of 7.31. One upside from the pitchers is that Wade Miley had a solid outing last time out, not giving up a hit through six innings. He’ll try to snap this season-high team losing streak tonight.

Miley actually had a perfect game going through 5 1/3 innings against the Angels and ended up allowing just two hits and one walk in seven innings…but still took a no decision.

Where things go from here is anybody’s guess.  We haven’t mentioned Clay Buchholz getting a platelet-rich-plasma injection into his right elbow. Who knows when he’ll be back, but don’t look for him for at least a few weeks, and if by late August the Sox are 20 games out, or 25, is it even worth it to bring him back?

Why is Mike Napoli Still Playing?

As Red Sox fans try and grapple with the fact that the team did not score a run in 8 calendar days, many have to begin to question the moves the team has made and the lineup card that John Farrell continues to roll with on a regular basis.

The 2015 Red Sox are a prime example of the need for youth on your roster. Although Mike Napolithey have some future stars in Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts, the Red Sox have had trouble developing prospects at certain positions, the main one being first base.

Mike Napoli continues to get at bats as the team hopes some team will see something before the trade deadline so the Red Sox can sell high on him. Although he had two hits in the second game of Monday’s double header, Napoli was still pinch hit for by Brock Holt late in the game. Napoli had recently sat out a week while the Red Sox went as far as putting David Ortiz at first base and Hanley Ramirez served as the DH.

Napoli is in the second year of a two year deal that pays him $16 million, there is no question he will not be in a Red Sox uniform come 2016, so why are they continuing to throw him out there? Dustin Pedroia is back from the disabled list so, Brock Holt could play first base. Holt did start Saturday night at first with Napoli getting the starts in the other three games of the Angels series. Holt does not profile as a first baseman for the long haul though with limited power.

The Red Sox have two players who are under performing defensively and could make the move to first base—Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. Sandoval, a catcher coming up, could make the move to first more easily than Ramirez in my opinion as the move to left did not work out with Ramirez. He continues to look worse, with a ball sailing over his head in Monday’s afternoon game, after he froze on the ball off the bat. If this is David Ortiz’s last year, I want Hanley as my DH and Pablo at first and find a third baseman. The Sox could even play Travis Shaw at first for the rest of the year to see what they have in Shaw as he has seemed to have proven himself in the minor leagues.

Mike Napoli’s days with the Red Sox could be numbered but with them being in last place and likely sellers at the deadline will anyone take him? Napoli is hitting .197 on the year with 83 strikeouts in 83 games played. A player who was a hero for the 2013 World Series team and a man of the people on the streets of Boston, just no longer is producing at a high level, worthy of a spot in the Sox order, but when will John Farrell and Ben Cherington finally pull the plug?

The Red Sox are Losing at the Worst Possible Time

In a season of perpetual disappointment, the Red Sox chose the worst possible time to embark on a long losing streak. Just as momentum was building, and fans began to see a glimmer of light, Boston lost two of three to New York prior to the All-Star Game, before stumbling to five straight defeats to start the second half.

All told, John Farell’s hapless team has lost six consecutive games, falling back to 42-52,Red Sox ten games adrift of the division-leading Yankees. Cautiously optimistic just two weeks ago, the Red Sox now have the worst record in the American League. This latest slump may be terminal.

The $166m Sox have been outscored 29-7 in their last five games. In fact, Boston’s -66 run differential on the season is third-worst in baseball, behind only the woeful Phillies and spluttering White Sox. Such a stat is emblematic of the Red Sox’ struggles, and obviously descriptive of a painfully unbalanced baseball team.

However, at this point, it’s difficult to see Ben Cherington making any moves to improve his lopsided roster. According to Fangraphs, the Red Sox have just a 2.1% chance of winning the AL East, while the likelihood of securing a Wildcard spot rests at 5.7%. For a front office that adores statistical analysis, those are particularly damning numbers. And, no matter how frustrated Red Sox Nation becomes, this hierarchy simply won’t mortgage the future to acquire a player who, at best, will enhance their chances of reaching a sudden-death Wildcard playoff from practically impossible to not gonna happen.

Now, the more likely scenario is the Red Sox selling off any excess big league pieces. At this point, Boston can only hope to retool and begin planning for 2016. Despite chronic batting average problems, Mike Napoli may interest a team hungry for power. Similarly, Shane Victorino may pique the interest of a contender searching for speed and experience atop its batting order. Even Koji Uehara may be dangled, tempting innumerable teams looking for bullpen help.

In the bigger picture, perhaps moving these ageing players would be beneficial to the Red Sox, who could finally grant extended playing time to Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr and Allen Craig, evaluating once and for all what those players actually are, and where they actually fit moving forward.

Yet, even this may be troublesome. It remains to be seen whether Ben Cherington has the energy and wherewithal to blow up his roster for the third time in four seasons as Red Sox GM. More to the point, will John Henry allow him to do so, and risk the crown jewel of his business empire becoming synonymous with failure, false dawns and fire sales?

Regardless of the next step, the Red Sox once again find themselves in a sorry state. Once again, this team appears dead before August has even arrived. And, amid an ocean of statistics and records speaking to this team’s wide-reaching ineptitude, that may be the most resounding reality of all.

Latest on Dustin Pedroia

Amidst the Red Sox recent hot streak, one player is still conspicuously absent: de facto captain Dustin Pedroia. He’s eligible to return for this weekend’s series against the New York Yankees, but the question remains: Will he?

He was taking ground balls before Tuesday’s game against the Miami Marlins, and testingDustin Pedroia his hamstring with change-of-direction drills as well. That’s definitely a good sign, but I’m sure the Red Sox are thinking about not rushing him back with the All-Star Break coming up versus having him back in the lineup. Before he had gone on the DL, he had been hitting at .306 with 9 home runs, and had been swinging a pretty hot bat (.350 in the month of June until the injury).

So, what do they do? If it were me, I wouldn’t rush him—I would hold off until after the All Star Break, just to be sure. Yes, I want him back as well, but what if he comes back and does something else? He’s one of our most important pieces, and the last thing I want to see is him lost for 60 days, or the rest of the season. If the Red Sox aren’t teasing us, and this recent hot streak carries into the second half of the season, the last thing I want to see is the team captain injured for a long period while the Red Sox are trying to make a serious playoff push.

So, yes, I want him back in the lineup, but it could cost us a chance at the AL East title, or a Wild Card spot. In the meantime, I’m good with Brock Holt at second base for the time being. After all, he is an All Star. Take your time, Dustin. Personally, I would rather see you back at 100% before you make your return to the lineup.

Wade Miley Gets Yanked After Four, Has Acidic Reaction To It

This insufferable summer has taken another bizarre twist.  Thursday night in Baltimore, Red Sox starting pitcher Wade Miley was informed by John Farrell in the dugout following the fourth inning that he was done for the night.  Miley immediately threw a fit, showing up his manager and then storming out of the dugout, with Farrell in tow. Miley later resurfaced and watched the rest of the game with his teammates.

What right did Miley have to be upset?  He threw four innings, gave up nine hits (three of them home runs) and five earned runs.  His ERA is now 5.07, which is good for 89th overall in the American League. In his last three starts he is 1-2 and has given up 12 earned runs. Not exactly the second coming of Cy Young here.  Additionally, he’s making $3,666,666 this year, and will make $6,167,000 next year and then in 2017 he’ll pocket $8,917,000.

So Miley’s mad that his manager yanked him? C’mon! The Sox were only down by two at that point, and not completely out of the game, even for the. Farrell was trying to avoid being swept. Miley Cyrus could have probably pitched better last night than Wade Miley, and she wouldn’t have thrown a temper tantrum in the dugout, she would have waited until later to get in trouble with the law.

Farrell’s reaction after the game was that Miley’s a competitor and it was his day to pitch. Lame, yes, but did you expect Farrell to state that Miley stunk and probably should have been yanked earlier?  Miley also pulled a similar stunt in Arizona last year when he was pulled in the third inning of a game and threw a hissy fit with manager Kirk Gibson.  Too bad Gibson didn’t just lay him out.

The only highlight that came out of last night was when Dennis Eckersley, during the post-game show, wondered aloud if Wade Miley was on acid when discussing his outburst.

Boston Red Sox Should Be Happy the Month of May Is Over

The Boston Red Sox offense and pitching staff should be glad the second month of the regular season is over. With a dreadful 1-6 road trip to cap off the month— thanks in big part to an error by third baseman Pablo Sandoval to start the inning— they blew a 4-3 lead in the ninth on Sunday against the Texas Rangers.

The team finished with a 10-19 record in their 29 games. The pitching staff finished withBoston Red Sox a cumulative ERA of 4.12, which ranked tied for 21st in all of MLB with the Miami Marlins. The starters rank dead last in the majors with a 5.05 ERA and a 15-23 record through 51 games. The relievers are pretty respectable with a 3.50 ERA, which is 15th in MLB and 7th in the American League. The bullpen, however, blew three of nine save opportunities in the month of May and really had trouble in those close games in the past 30 days.

The offense really let the team down in May with only 2.8 runs per game during the 29-game stretch. The 82 run record puts them last in all of baseball, including fewer runs than the Philadelphia Phillies (94), New York Mets (95) and even the Miami Marlins (97). The team hit .237 for the month, which is the 7th worst average in the majors for the month and 3rd worst in the AL.

The hitting with runners in scoring position has been no better as the team is 2nd worst in the American League while hitting with a .221 clip in those situations. The team is 4th worst overall with runners on second and/or third. The month of May saw games where the Red Sox could not sniff a hit with RISP and it has nearly cost them the season. Luckily, the team is in the AL East and, with 111 games to go, only trails the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays by four games.

The strange thing about all these offensive struggles has been the lack of strikeouts the opponent’s have been piling up. In 51 games, the Red Sox are the second hardest team to strikeout with 327 total strikeouts, which averages out to about 6.4 each contest; the only team lower is the Kansas City Royals with 278.

What this stat tells me is that the Red Sox are running into a lot of outs by swinging early in the count, especially with a league-low .267 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). In comparison with the number above, the Royals’ BABIP ranks fourth with a .315.

If the Red Sox hope to even think about contending this season, then the team needs to start scoring runs when the pitchers keep them in games by hitting with runners in scoring position and making sure to get productive outs. It all starts with the months changing and a little home cooking in June as the team plays 15 of its 28 games at Fenway Park this month.