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The Red Sox lose again; offense still AWOL

Aug 17, 2011, 4:49 PM EST

Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox Getty Images

The Sox just lost to the Rays, 4-0.  They only got three hits in the game. Again. They got three hits in each game of yesterday’s double-header as well.

Part of this, of course, is facing good Tampa Bay Rays pitching. Today it was David Price, shutting the Sox out for eight innings. Yesterday it was James Shields who, even though the Sox won, they didn’t really get to. jeff Niemann did the deed in the nightcap. Also in play, obviously, is the absence of David Ortiz, the stiff neck of Adrian Gonzalez and a Kevin Youkilis who looks anything but comfortable out there due to his bad back.

The Sox are 8-8 in August and have scored fewer than four runs in 12 of those 16 games.

Meanwhile, the first place Yankees get another one in Kansas City tonight, followed by a trip to Minnesota to take on the less-than-formidable Twins, the series against the A’s and Orioles before they meet the Sox again.

Question: will the Sox’ offense right itself in time to make that series a true battle for first place, or will they be in a decidedly deeper hole by then?

  1. yankeesfanlen - Aug 17, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    It’s August. Look it up.

    • The Rabbit - Aug 17, 2011 at 6:11 PM

      Welcome Home Len!
      Hope the return was uneventful.

  2. mornelithe - Aug 17, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    The Sox can’t rely on their offense 100% of the time to carry the game for them. I love the Sox, but their starting rotation needs life support, badly.

    • Callidus - Aug 17, 2011 at 5:59 PM

      Blaming the Sox’ starting pitchers for their recent struggles isn’t fair. In the past three series (versus the Rays, Mariners, and Twins) they have really only had one poor performance – Becket’s five inning/five earned run outing on Saturday opposite King Felix. Other than that, the Sox starters have all been pitching deep into games and well enough to win.

      Lackey (6.2 IP – 3ER)
      Bedard (6.0 IP – 1 ER)
      Lester (7.0 IP – 1 ER)
      Wakefield (8.0 IP – 4 ER)
      Beckett (5.0 IP – 5 ER)
      Lackey (6.0 IP – 4 ER)
      Lester (7.1 ER – 4 ER)
      Bedard (5.0 IP – 2 ER)
      Wakefield (7.0 – 3 ER)

      • Ari Collins - Aug 17, 2011 at 6:33 PM

        I think blaming it on the starting pitchers is indeed ridiculous, but fewer than half of those are quality starts.

      • mornelithe - Aug 17, 2011 at 7:12 PM

        I disagree with you, and you know damn well that those scores would’ve been far worse if the Sox weren’t what, the 3rd best defensively in the league? The only person, I repeat, only person who really has any argument going about the offense is Beckett. The rest of the starters are losing it before the offense even gets a chance to swing a bat.

        They’re not horrible or anything, don’t get me wrong. They all just seem to be having sub-par years, except maybe Beckett. You can’t blame the offense though, that’s even more ridiculous, 2nd in the League in Run Support? 1st in Runs, Total Bases, SLG, OBP, 2nd in Hits, Home Runs and Avg? Yeah, it’s _totally_ the offenses fault.

        Pitching? ERA….is ranked 17th.
        Runs allowed? 16th

        Hell, the only stat the Sox are top 3 in for General Pitching, is the run support they get for each game. It’s clear the offense is doing it’s job, the starting rotation is not towing the line.

      • Ari Collins - Aug 17, 2011 at 8:01 PM

        The offense has obviously been the best part of the team this year. But “this year” is not what we’re discussing. What we’re discussing is August, when the pitching’s been just fine but the offense has been far below its usual level. In August, their run prevention is 8th best in the AL; middle of the pack, like it’s been all year. But their run scoring is also 8th best, and that’s what’s been different from the rest of the year.

        As to pitchers having disappointing seasons, Lester is doing exactly what he does every year. His ERAs the previous three years? 3.21, 3.41, 3.25. This year? 3.22. I have no idea whatsoever why you (and others!) think he’s been “sub-par.”

      • mornelithe - Aug 17, 2011 at 8:16 PM

        @ Ari: It’s not necessarily that he’s been sub-par, and I didn’t say they sucked. I simply said they need life-support badly. It’s almost like they’ve gotten used to having massive offense, so they haven’t really paid as much attention to their control.

        How many games has the offense saved this year, due to miserable pitching performances? Ok, now how many games have been won this year, because the pitching was absolutely stellar, in a low-scoring game. I’m betting the offense has this particular stat, by far.

        Again, it’s not that they suck, I know Beckett, and Lester are fully capable of delivering. It’s just, they choose to deliver their more poor performances, at the worst of times. What, we can’t have 1 month where the starting pitching actually saves the team, for a change?

      • Ari Collins - Aug 17, 2011 at 9:25 PM

        The back of the Red Sox rotation is mostly to blame for that, though. The rotation won’t keep them from the playoffs, and when they get there, being able to cut Wakefield or Lackey will make a big difference.

        If Bedard stays healthy, I’d put our 1-2-3 against anyone but the Phillies. Getting Bedard drops the Andrew Millers of the world out of the rotation, and making the playoffs drops the worse of Lackey/Wakefield. Then it will be our 1-2-3, great bullpen, and amazing offense, with an occasional crappy start from a #4 (which we’re certainly capable of winning regardless).

      • mornelithe - Aug 17, 2011 at 10:37 PM

        @ Ari: You say that as if you can count on Lester, Beckett, and Bedard pitching to their potential. Which is far from a guarantee. Beckett just gave 5 ER to Seattle in 5 innings. Hell, Bedard’s (6) given up fewer earned runs than Beckett(8) and Lester (8), so far this month (it’s only the 17th btw). The starting pitching…ALL of the starting pitching, has been very lucky this year, lucky we have the offense we do.

        As I said to start this whole thing off, however, the offense cannot be expected to carry this team every single day. Next year they’ll be able to address pitching more though, since they should be able to send Matsuzaka packing and free up his payroll for pitchers more deserving.

  3. Ari Collins - Aug 17, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    As you said, there are some mitigating circumstances, like running into some great TB pitching, some injuries, etc. But while it’s still early, and the division tie goes to Boston, the Yankees might be slight favorites if they win tonight.

  4. deathmonkey41 - Aug 17, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    They need to double up on the cycles.

    • pisano - Aug 17, 2011 at 5:44 PM

      Ari, don’t even think about a tie, that’s not going to happen. One or the other will win the east outright, I don’t see a tie anywhere is sight. Which ever of these two get hot will win the east going away. Right now the Yankees seem to have the momentum, but that could change in a heart beat. It’s going to be interesting from here until the end.

      • Ari Collins - Aug 17, 2011 at 6:34 PM

        They’re pretty well-matched teams who haven’t been more than a couple games apart in months. A tie is most definitely possible (happened just a few years ago, too).

      • uyf1950 - Aug 17, 2011 at 7:30 PM

        2005 to be exact. Possible, yes. Probably not likely though. With still 40 games left to play there are all sorts of possibilities that can still happen to either or both teams.

  5. frankvzappa - Aug 17, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    The inability to hit great pitching this year signals a disturbing trend as we look ahead to the playoffs. The Sox have been destroying average and good pitching, it is the great pitching they can’t hit for sh–.

  6. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 17, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    Does the pitching for any AL contender scare anyone? Unless the Angels start staging a massive comeback, the AL playoff teams willall be doing it with the stick.

    On the NL side, only the Brewers and Dbacks can hit a lick among contenders.

    The odds are looking like it will be a ‘does good pitching stop good hitting’ kind of world series.

  7. indaburg - Aug 17, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    Sounds to me like the Sox are showing their age. Bursitis, bad back, neck stiffness… those are the complaints of my elderly patients.

  8. dailyrev - Aug 17, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    Rays and Pirates are a lot alike — gnats in the ears of Leviathan. But what’s lost here is the fact that the Yanx are playing some seriously good ball to pass the Sawx. But you know, celebrity poker games are so much more important than on-field performance.

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