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Extra Bases

Offensive Ineffectiveness Becomes Red Sox Signature

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AP


It has become a signature stat of the Red Sox season: Their ineffectiveness in hitting with runners in scoring position.

On Sunday, in their 3-2 loss to the Indians in 11 innings, the Sox had ample opportunity for a win. None more so than when they loaded the bases – all on walks – in the ninth inning against John Axford and couldn’t score.

The Red Sox went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position on Sunday, leaving eight runners on base. Their last hit in the game was Stephen Drew’s one-out single in the seventh. After that, 17 Sox batters went to the plate. All came away hitless, though three walked while six struck out.

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But it wasn’t just with runners in scoring position on Sunday that the Sox had difficulty finding a hit. They had trouble generating any offense. Brock Holt and Stephen Drew, returning to the lineup for the first time in a week after being sidelined with an ailing oblique muscle and playing in just his fifth game this season, each had two of the Sox six hits in the game, all singles.

The Sox are batting .240 (140-for-584) with runners in scoring position this season, leaving an averaging 7.68 runners left on base per game. It was more of the same on Sunday.

“Yeah, it was,” said manager John Farrell. “We had opportunities, the eighth and the ninth inning, in particular. We walked the bases loaded in the ninth and a base hit away or a swing away from ending it right there. It’s been elusive. I can’t say that we change our approach. One thru nine it’s not like we’re going about it differently. But it’s been elusive.”

As expected, those numbers are starkly different in their wins and losses. In wins, the Sox are batting a respectable .286 (89-for-311) with runners in scoring position. In losses, they are a paltry .187 (51-for-273).

That ineffectiveness becomes most evident in close games. In splitting the series with the Indians, they took losses in the last two games by identical 3-2 scores. The losses dropped them to 8-16 in one-run games, the most such losses in the American League. Of their 38 losses, 19 have been by two or fewer runs. Considering that the Sox have struggled to get to .500 for most of the season, if they had been able to push across a few extra runs in even a third of those games, they would at least be above .500 now and in strong position in the AL East.

"All we can do it keep going out there and getting guys on base and working," Pierzynski said. “Guys hit some balls hard. [The Indians] made some good plays. There's nothing you can do. All you can do is keep trying, and this team's not going to stop doing that."
The Red Sox went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position on Sunday, leaving eight runners on base. Their last hit in the game was Stephen Drew’s one-out single in the seventh. After that, 17 Sox batters went to the plate. All came away hitless, though three walked while six struck out.

But it wasn’t just with runners in scoring position on Sunday that the Sox had difficulty finding a hit. They had trouble generating any offense. Brock Holt and Stephen Drew, returning to the lineup for the first time in a week after being sidelined with an ailing oblique muscle and playing in just his fifth game this season, each had two of the Sox six hits in the game, all singles.

The Sox are batting .240 (140-for-584) with runners in scoring position this season, leaving an averaging 7.68 runners left on base per game. It was more of the same on Sunday.

“Yeah, it was,” said manager John Farrell. “We had opportunities, the eighth and the ninth inning, in particular. We walked the bases loaded in the ninth and a base hit away or a swing away from ending it right there. It’s been elusive. I can’t say that we change our approach. One thru nine it’s not like we’re going about it differently. But it’s been elusive.”

As expected, those numbers are starkly different in their wins and losses. In wins, the Sox are batting a respectable .286 (89-for-311) with runners in scoring position. In losses, they are a paltry .187 (51-for-273).

That ineffectiveness becomes most evident in close games. In splitting the series with the Indians, they took losses in the last two games by identical 3-2 scores. The losses dropped them to 8-16 in one-run games, the most such losses in the American League. Of their 38 losses, 19 have been by two or fewer runs. Considering that the Sox have struggled to get to .500 for most of the season, if they had been able to push across a few extra runs in even a third of those games, they would at least be above .500 now and in strong position in the AL East.

"All we can do it keep going out there and getting guys on base and working," Pierzynski said. “Guys hit some balls hard. [The Indians] made some good plays. There's nothing you can do. All you can do is keep trying, and this team's not going to stop doing that."