Situational Hitting Not Part of Red Sox Arsenal So Far This Season

red sox hitting

The Boston Red Sox have scored the seventh most runs in all of baseball through 25 games after Sunday’s night contest against the New York Yankees with 122 runners touching home plate. This also ranks sixth in the American League behind the Toronto Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, Houston Astros and now the New York Yankees.

However, the Red Sox have scored some of these runs due to other team’s mistakes (unearned runs) and thanks to 29 long balls on the season. Red Sox hittingThe team has not hit well with runners on base, especially with runners in scoring position, and that could be a concern if the trend continues.

As a whole the Red Sox are hitting .228 with runners in scoring position. That number goes up a tick to .239 with two outs, but that still is rather pathetic for a team that is in the top 10 in runs scored in all of baseball.

The team does have some players hitting well in these positions as Daniel Nava (.333), Mookie Betts (.304), Xander Bogaerts (.300) and Brock Holt (.300) are the only batters with 10 or more at-bats with runners in scoring position with an average above .263.

Players not hitting well in these situations include Pablo Sandoval (.263 in 19 chances), Hanley Ramirez (.227 in 22 chances), David Ortiz (.211 in 19 chances), Mike Napoli (.158 in 19 chances) and Dustin Pedroia (.124 in 24 chances). Now, yes, it is a small sample size for all of these batters and Napoli is hitting less than .170 on the season, but this could be a real concern for this team in its ability to tack on those extra runs in order to win games throughout the season.

The Red Sox have had a grand total of 109 at-bats with runners in scoring position and two outs and at least 14 apiece for Betts and Pedroia should mean a lot of runs. But both hitters have hit less than .150 with a combined four hits and just one extra-base hit for the centerfielder.

With all these numbers showing the Red Sox still haven’t found those timely hits, the team still has a 12-13 record and show that they can contend in the AL East as long as their pitching doesn’t fall off the table once every third or fourth start. Sure home runs help score runs, but timely hitting is what really makes an offense lethal.

Red Sox Bid Adieu to April

Red Sox

With April in the books,  what is different between this years’ version of the Red Sox and the 2014 team? At first blush, one might think, ‘Well, clearly the pitching is a little better than last year and the hitting is much better.’ Not so fast, Rem Dog disciples.

Last years’ pitching staff was actually BETTER through one month than the current staff.Red Sox Through one month, the ERA in 2015 is a league worst 5.04.  Last year at this time it was 3.95, right in the middle of the pack. As far as the number of earned runs that have been given up, the Sox are atop all of Major League Baseball in that category with 113 allowed. Not exactly the type of stat you want to brag about. Last year, they actually played four more games in April and gave up 9 fewer earned runs.

At the plate, most folks thought with the addition of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval that balls would be flying over the Green Monster at epic proportions, and even fantasized that the Mass Pike would have to be closed down during games for driver safety.  While Ramirez just tied David Ortiz’ record for most home runs in April, with 10, the team batting average is well, just average. At .245 it is good enough for 6th overall in the league, which at least is better that the .245 of a year ago that was 11th best.

Even with new sluggers added this year, some numbers are still very close when looked at year to year.  Last years’ slugging percentage was .384, this year it is at .379.  A year ago the OPS was .333, this year it is at .332, and this year’s OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging) is .711 while a year ago it was .717.

What does all this mean?  WHO KNOWS?! A year ago the Red Sox were a sub-.500 team, 2.5 games out of first place behind the New York Yankees.  Now, they are 12-10 and just one game behind the Yankees, who come to town this weekend.

It’s obvious that pitching is the weak link, and that the roster is overcrowded with some guys who can still hit (Daniel Nava, Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli) and might be able to help a team, and with others who may have enormous upside such as Brock Holt and Jackie Bradley Jr.  Let’s also bear in mind that Rusney Castillo and Yoan Moncada represent an enormous investment and they’ll be at Fenway Park before too long. It’s time for Ben Cherington to play ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ and beef up the pitching.