Re: 2014 Boston Red Sox : What went wrong?
posted at 7/25/2014 2:16 PM EDT
The first thing that went wrong is that Pedroia and Napoli, the No. 3 and No. 5 hitters in the batting order, batted .200 and .180 respectively in the first half w/RISP. Had they been at least at .250, the Sox would at least at .500, and it might have helped take the pressure off the younger guys.
But even if the younger guys and everyone else did the same, the Sox would at least be at .500 and just 4.5 games out and certainly within striking distance.
A lot of posters like to rip the decision about going with young prospects, but no matter what the Sox did, when the No. 3 and No. 5 hitters are so pathetic in the clutch, they still would have had issues.
And let's look at the rest of the team:
Nava and Gomes combined to be one of the top productive left fields, if not the top, last year. So that's not something that a GM is going to blow up. Gomes had a typical year and basically has been the same. Had Nava started the season like he's been hitting now, LF wouldn't have been a problem. I've never been a huge Nava backer, but even if you expected him to drop off, it was a stretch to think he'd be as bad as he was to start the season.
Now look at Bradley. It's easy to say the Sox should have re-signed Ellsbury, but look at Bradley. He's been perhaps the top defensive CF, and unless he goes o-fer for the rest of the month, he's going to finish with a solid July. He was solid in April -- .244 1 HR, 12 RBIs -- so right now, the Sox have gotten two good months offensively from him and two bad months. There's nothing wrong with going with young players, but there are going to be growing pains.
Victorino had a solid year last year but it wasn't a career year. It's easy to say the Sox should have expected him to be hurt, but you can never predict injuries. Guys are injury prone until they're not, and guys are workhorses until they're not.
And there hardly has been a lot of options. Many posters were clamoring for Beltran and he has scked this year. He wouldn't have been anywhere near an upgrade.
Nelson Cruz -- coming off a PED suspension? There wasn't a lot of clamoring for him. In retrospect, he would have helped a lot, but you can't really blame the Sox for not going after him, especially after how effective the LF platoon was last year.
The infield. I don't know anyone who didn't want Bogaerts, so again, with a rookie, there's going to be growing pains. Middlebrooks was a disappointment, but when you look at the way he finished the last two months last year and the RH power potential, the Sox certainly had to give him a chance even if it was a longshot. (And he still might pan out).
And if the Sox decided not to go with Middlebrooks at 3B, what were the options?
And sure, the Sox could have gone after Abreu stronger, but he still was a huge unknown, and the Sox had a 1B coming off a very strong year. It was hardly a need.
Catching? A.J. obviously didn't work out, although he had some key game-winning hits early. But Salty hasn't been much better and McCann, whom some wanted, hasn't been great either. So the short-run, catching was an issue, but Vazquez has been strong and perhaps in the long run, not signing Salty and signing A.J. isn't going to matter.
Pitching and bullpen has been solid overall despite hiccups here and there.
So to me, it goes back to Pedroia and Napoli being so horrible in the clutch this year. Had they been at their career averages, the Sox would be at .500 and Sox fans could be a bit more patient for the young guys to come around, which despite the lasted couple of games, it looks like Bogaerts and Bradley are coming around.
Had at least Bogaerts been stronger or at least hit well in the clutch when he his batting average was higher to start the year, the Sox would over .500.
Or if Nava wasn't so horrible to start the year, LF wouldn't have been as much of an issue.
Holt has make up for some of the struggles at 3B, LF (before Nava started hitting) and RF, so that has helped some, which goes back to the clutch-hitting struggles of the Sox's No. 3 and No. 5 hitters.