The enigmatic season of the Boston Red Sox continued after a very promising seven-game winning streak. Instead of riding the momentum into a resounding turnaround, the Sox opened the first full week of June by dropping the first five games, all on the road. The only solace Boston took from the start of its road trip was David Ortiz preventing a second consecutive sweep with a game-winning titanic three-run shot off of Detroit’s Joba Chamberlain to salvage the final game of the Tigers’ series on Sunday. This team has continued to struggle collectively with only a few players here and there ever pulling their own weight at one specific time.
Boston’s offense has once again gone cold, which started in the midst of its winning streak towards the end of May. Boston won seven in a row behind strong starting pitching, but now that the rotation has once again come back down to earth the Red Sox are struggling. Only three times in the past 13 games has Boston scored more than four runs. The only two members of the offense who can look in the mirror and honestly say they are doing their jobs right now would be Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt, the first two hitters in the lineup. The middle of the order, namely superstars Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz have not cashed in on nearly enough of the opportunities being presented to them hitting behind the scalding hot tandem of Holt and Bogaerts.
The same depth that anchored last season’s team appears to be hindering this year’s. The outfield as a whole is performing at an embarrassing level across the board. Holt has almost seized the starting left field job by default since he is hitting so well that John Farrell simply cannot remove him from the lineup. The Grady Sizemore experiment is looking more like a swing and a miss every day, and Jackie Bradley Jr. still looks completely lost at the plate. Without making a move at the trade deadline, this club has to hope that Shane Victorino can come back and stay healthy and that Daniel Nava can start putting together more consistent at-bats. The stars have not provided the same firepower to overshadow any weak performances from the role players as they did last season.
Part of Ortiz’s slump can be attributed to Mike Napoli’s absence, so his return should pay dividends in that department. Daniel Nava has also shown small signs of life upon being called back up. What has not helped is the putrid first week from Stephen Drew. The Red Sox made a bold decision by bringing him back in what was deemed a panic move by many, and it looks even worse now that Holt and Bogaerts are doing so well.
It is difficult to assess why exactly the Red Sox are doing so poorly, but with the Toronto Blue Jays continuing to assault American League pitching, the Sox need to turn it around immediately. The rotation is not innocent either, as everyone aside from John Lackey has been getting shelled quite regularly in recent weeks. A 1-5 week was not what the Sox had in mind following the long winning streak.
Commentary by Justin Hussong
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Boston Red Sox