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Red Sox's 'run prevention' strategy takes another hit with Marco Scutaro out

May 20, 2010, 11:42 AM EDT

Boston’s offseason moves to build the team more around “run prevention” are being mocked because the Red Sox have allowed the most runs in the league, but injuries to Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury certainly have helped and now Marco Scutaro is sidelined with a sore elbow.
Scutaro sat out last night’s game with “tennis elbow” that manager Terry Francona said “has actually been bothering him for a while.” The injury is to Scutaro’s left, non-throwing elbow, but he’s still expected to miss several more games after receiving a cortisone shot to dull the pain.
“We know it’s been bothering him when he’s been swinging the bat,” Francona said. “He really wanted to play through it. He’s done a nice job. We talked about it last week a little bit and the more we talked it made sense to do that. He’s going to be just fine.”
Scutaro has basically matched his career averages by hitting .267 with a .359 on-base percentage and .342 slugging percentage, but is just 12-for-54 (.222) with one extra-base hit over the past two weeks and has also committed multiple errors defensively during that time. General manager Theo Epstein revealed yesterday that Scutaro has had trouble closing his glove around balls because of the elbow injury.
Bill Hall started at shortstop in Scutaro’s place last night, with Darnell McDonald in center field and Jeremy Hermida in left field. That’s quite a different story than trotting out Scutaro, Cameron, and Ellsbury in the same spots, so while Boston’s pitching and defense have been a mess so far it’s tough to really draw conclusions about the offseason strategy until the actual planned defense has played together for a while.

  1. benyamen - May 20, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    Has anyone actually watched Scuataro play this year? Him being out with an injured elbow may be the greatest run prevention and run creation strategy the Sox have. He has come up with fielding errors time and time again, and has regularly choked with men in scoring position. The guy is horrible. I’ve found it very easy this season to blame all the Red Sox woes on Scutaro, and in fact I think he may be responsible for the Icelandic volcano erutption and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico too.
    Where’s Jed Lowrie when you need him?

  2. JBerardi - May 20, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    “so while Boston’s pitching and defense have been a mess so far it’s tough to really draw conclusions about the offseason strategy until the actual planned defense has played together for a while.”

    Here, I’ll draw a conclusion: as far as the position player side of things goes, the offseason strategy has worked out pretty well. Even with Cameron and Ellsbury out (and some pretty bad defenders in their place), they’re 14th in team defensive efficiency– that is, they’ve been an average team in terms of turning balls in play into outs (they absolutely sucked in this regard last year, ranking 28th). The Red Sox are also third in the AL in runs scored, so it’s not like the offense has been a serious problem either. Given that, I’m very comfortable placing the blame for the Red Sox lousy start squarely on the pitching staff’s shoulders.

    Also, this probably isn’t much of a hit to the team’s run prevention ability anyway. Scutaro isn’t a great defensive shortstop, he’s an adequate one. Whoever the Sox bring up is likely to be as good or better defensively.

  3. J Rose - May 20, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    You took the words out of my mouth!

  4. Joey B - May 20, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    “and has regularly choked with men in scoring position.”
    .281 with RISP.

  5. Joey B - May 20, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    “Even with Cameron and Ellsbury out (and some pretty bad defenders in their place), they’re 14th in team defensive efficiency– that is, they’ve been an average team in terms of turning balls in play into outs (they absolutely sucked in this regard last year, ranking 28th).”
    That’s my take as well. When I saw them in ST 2009, it looked like they were running on sand. At least now, they are ‘okay’. Anyone looking for a move from worst to first was almost guaranteed to be disappointed.

  6. Steve C - May 20, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    To date David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre have been far more “un-clutch” to date.
    .281 w/ RISP for a guy with a .261 career average is pretty respectable.
    http://www.fangraphs.com/winss.aspx?team=Red+Sox&pos=all&stats=bat&qual=0&type=3&season=2010&month=0

  7. david lowe - May 20, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    just like to say i am new to the internet and came upon this site by accident, and think its great. i am a redsox fan and have found this site very helpful and informative thankyou will now viit daily throughout the season d.m.lowe edinburgh Scotland

  8. frank c - May 20, 2010 at 11:06 PM

    are the pirates still laughing all the way to the bank after the red sox purchased van every’s contract?

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