Tight Red Sox games are grueling to watch. This team has us sitting at the edge of our couches, wringing our hands, or biting our fingernails. Only in the ninth inning of Thursday, May 16th’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays could fans exhale, as Will Middlebrooks flipped the switch off the offensive cruise control. This flair for drama seems to be the norm this week, as the Bruins won their game in the same fashion, scoring multiple goals in the third period. Boston fans must watch these games from start to finish.
As for the Red Sox, I am not sure why the offense seems so sluggish and then suddenly wakes up. The team should be swinging better–and perhaps more accurately, doing something with those players the Sox are able to get on base. Leaving runners on base, and then following those who were able to get on base with weak hitting does not lead to success. It leads to easy outs and double play opportunities, which we saw during Friday night’s game against the Minnesota Twins.
Great, we know what we are doing wrong. So, how can we improve the offense? Well, because I am most familiar with it, let’s take a look at tennis strategy. One theory on how to win a tennis match is to keep the ball away from your opponent. The balls that are hit, whether yellow, or white with red stitching, need to be hit just out of reach of the person in the defensive position. This “keep away” strategy is certainly one way to improve; another would be further manipulation of the lineup. Certain players, like Jonny Gomes, Dustin Pedroia, and Jacoby Ellsbury can get on base. It is just a matter of making sure those players that follow them in the lineup either walk, swing for the fences, or simply hit strategically, just out of reach of the opposing team.
Sure, there are plenty more variables involved, but making a small change here and there is the only way to begin. As John Farrell makes those changes, the fans will just have to continue to white knuckle their way through these games. We must hope for wins, and then exhale.