David Ortiz Starting Slow In 2015

With the additions to Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez it was expected the pressure would be taken off David Ortiz to be the main guy in the middle of the Red Sox order. Ortiz has performed up to and even above the standards many have expected the 39 year old to live up to in recent years but this season Ortiz has been struggling in the middle of the Sox order.

Ortiz has been a victim of the shift, obviously not much he can do about it unless he startsDavid Ortiz going the other way more, but easier said than done. With his average now just .221 Ortiz could be quietly having one of his worst seasons in a Red Sox uniform. Obviously no one expected him to hit 50 home runs again, or win a batting title. But, the offense of the Red Sox needs him to perform at a high level. Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval are battling injuries that don’t look to be going away any time soon.

Ortiz is not the only Red Sox hitter struggling, but I feel he is the most important right now. He is the identity of this Red Sox team and the offense will be most successful when he is on. The lineup changes manager John Farrell made over the weekend were small and he seemed to revert back to the usual lineup already after flip flopping Ortiz and Ramirez this weekend. They were back to their normal spots in the lineup Monday. I feel Farrell is too reliant on going right-left in the lineup and should just have the best hitters at the top of the lineup. A hot Xander Bogaerts should not be hitting 7th, and a struggling David Ortiz should not still be hitting 3rd.

Mike Napoli had been struggling with his average dipping as low as .171 last week but with a great weekend series against the Angels he raised it to .211. 40 points in a weekend is a lot to expect but it is time for Ortiz to get on a roll and carry this Red Sox offense like he has the past ten plus years.

If and hopefully when Ortiz comes around with the bat, the Red Sox offense will be what many expected it to be before the season. Expecting the team to score 900 runs and be one of the best offenses in the American League, while stepping up in an American League East that no ones seems to be grabbing a hold of.

Ortiz has been the guy for the Red Sox for so long, admitting that he is struggling at the plate is something many people will refuse to believe, but his stat line is down and so is the Red Sox offense.

The Unfortunate Inconsistency of the Red Sox Offense

Red Sox offense A.J. Pierzynski

The Red Sox offense lit up the Yankees on Sunday night, giving us hopes that it would continue on Monday against the Cubs. Well, that could not have been further from truth. After a night of 12 hits and eight walks, the Red Sox were almost no-hit by Jake Arrieta, ending up with two hits and one walk.

The addition of Mookie Betts to the lineup provided hope for a potential spark to the poor offense, however he has looked a bit shaky in the outfield. With Shane Victorino’s rehab stint shut down, it appears that Betts will have some time to prove himself in the majors both at the plate and in the outfield.

It seems that pretty much every time the Sox start hitting, they can’t carry it over to the next game. There were only two occasions in the month of June where the Sox scored five or more runs in two consecutive games and seven games total. Their 84 runs in 28 games last month equals exactly three runs per game, which is nowhere near where it needs to be.

There are about two weeks left before the All-Star break and the Red Sox have to figure things out in that period. With the Orioles, White Sox, and Astros on their slate, it would be a great time to pick up some wins and gain some more ground in the AL East race.

It has been rumored that some Red Sox might be dealt at the deadline, including big names like Jon Lester and John Lackey. If the Sox work their way back into the thick of things, I don’t see them being moved. There is a chance that A.J. Pierzynski may be moved though, but that all depends on whether he gets the bat going. He has been relatively productive compared to the rest of the team, but with two catching prospects on the rise in Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart, he could be expendable.

Red Sox Off to a Slow Start

Red Sox off to a slow start

Throughout Spring Training in Fort Myers, Fla., the Boston Red Sox talked about moving on from their 2013 World Series Championship and focusing on the 2014 season. After being under .500 after the first week of the season, it may be time for the Red Sox to hit the reset button.

The Red Sox were outscored 17-8 in their three game series against the Milwaukee Brewers last weekend. Boston’s offense was inactive in two of the three games and never seemed to get on track throughout the series.

The same could be said during their series against the Texas Rangers, as the offense struggled to score when runners were in scoring position.  In their 10-7 loss to the Rangers in game two of the series, the Red Sox left a total of 19 runners on base.

The shuffling of the Red Sox lineup may be the reason they’ve struggled to generate runs so far. The team has used six different batting orders in their first eight games.

It’s too early to know if the Red Sox will miss Jacoby Ellsbury, who departed to the New York Yankees last offseason, but his absence has affected the team early on. Daniel Nava, who’s primarily been used in the lead-off spot early this season, has struggled so far.  Going into game three of the Ranger series, Nava is hitting .138 and has an on-base percentage of .219.

Ellsbury was not only a good hitter, but he got on base and was able to turn a single into a triple with his ability to steal bases. With Nava struggling to get on base, the lead-off spot just simply hasn’t had enough runners on base.

During the Red Sox first week of the 2013 season the team stole eight bases and were caught only once. Through eight games the 2014 season, they have attempted to steal a base just three times and were successful only once.

The offense hasn’t been the only problem for the Red Sox during the first week of the season; sloppy defense has also been an issue. The team has committed seven errors (five in the Milwaukee series) in their first eight games. To put this in prospective, in Red Sox Manager John Farrell’s first season, the team didn’t make an error in its first seven games of the 2013 season.

It isn’t time to panic in Boston, but the Red Sox need to find an identity until Shane Victornio and Will Middlebrooks come back from the DL. With the Sox playing a four-game series in the Bronx against the Yankees this upcoming weekend, they can’t afford to keep having these offensive and defensive issues.

Some Players Not Contributing to Red Sox Offense

red sox offense

Jonny, how about you spend less time on your hair and more time swinging a bat? Courtesy of bostonherald.com

Here are a few things that bug me about the Red Sox offense despite its recent resurgence.

First on the offensive hit list (pardon the pun) is Mike Carp. Carp, please pick a lane, and pick the right one. For the sake of the Red Sox, please pick the lane where you score runs and don’t live up to the dead version of your last name. The last time I wrote about you, a carp fishing organization followed me on Twitter. I found it oddly appropriate. One day you produce no runs. The next two days you put together an outstanding offensive performance. Be consistent. Pick a lane. All this swerving back and forth will get you cited for reckless driving—or worse, optioned down to triple-A.

Stephen Drew. ‘Nuff said. He puts the world to sleep when he speaks to the media and when holding a bat. He has been hitless for his last 17 at-bats due to injury. The man is like Samuel L. Jackson’s character “Mr. Glass” in Unbreakable. Thankfully, they brought back up the talented Jose Iglesias from Pawtucket for the May 24th game. Offensively, Iggy still can’t hit the long ball, but he does get on base. He does hit.

Finally, Jonny Gomes wasn’t even in the lineup the other night against the Phillies. With a .176 batting average it just wasn’t worth it. If he would just make contact with the ball and get on base that would help. Gomes has been in the wrong place at the wrong time for a long time. He was batting second before Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz. Pedroia or Papi could score Gomes, but he is too scared to go all the way. I know what that feels like. I experienced it in high school. You get over it rather quickly once you realize how good it feels.

In spite of these liabilities, the team has done an exceptional job of scoring runs thanks to Pedroia, Ortiz, Daniel Nava and Jacoby Ellsbury’s recent success. Over the course of last week, Farrell saw that some changes needed to be made, and he made them. Let’s see if they hold water. Farrell can always circle the wagons again after testing the current mix of players.