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Eric Wilbur's Sports Blog

Red Sox Could Have Their Worst Offense in 22 Years

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Just a few examples how historically deficient the Red Sox’ offense has been to date...

Through 63 games, the Sox have scored only 253 runs, better than only the Yankees, Royals, and Rays in the American League. They’re also on pace to have one of the worst outputs in franchise history.

They are currently on pace to score 651 runs this season. That would be the worst total since the 1992 Red Sox managed only 599 runs, and would be one more than the 1920 edition, with Harry Hooper leading the charge. It would be the 83rd-worst scoring team in the 114 years of the franchise.

Boston was shut out for the fifth time this season Monday night in Baltimore, 4-0, which isn't all that bad considering just how anemic their offense has been in 2014 (the 2013 Sox were shut out 11 times).

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Boston is also on pace for a 72-90 season, which, of course, would be the worst in only two years, when the Bobby Valentine Sox went on to finish only 69-93. It would tie the 1964 and ’66 teams for the 15th-worst record in franchise history.

More bad news? Sure. With 48 home runs, the Sox are on pace to hit only 123, the worst such mark since 1953. Boston’s .706 OPS is only 79th-best in team history, and its .247 batting average is the worst collective mark since 1904. The ’92 Sox hit .246.

That team is a fair comparison for the 2014 edition in that its decent pitching couldn’t carry a hapless offense, something Jake Peavy, Jon Lester, and John Lackey know all too well. The Red Sox of 22 years ago boasted a 3.58 team ERA, 29th-best in team history. The 2014 Red Sox are at 3.88, 47th-best. Roger Clemens was somehow 18-11 that year, with a 2.41 ERA, leading a starting staff that also hosted Frank Viola (13-12, 3.44), Joe Hesketh (8-9, 4.36), John Dopson (7-11, 4.08), and Mike Gardiner (4-10, 4.75). But the offense was brutal.

In his final season with the Red Sox, Wade Boggs hit only .259 with a .711 OPS. Tom Brunansky led the club with 15 home runs. Bob Zupcic and Scott Cooper led the team in batting at .276. Jody Reed scored 64 runs.

This team is marginally better.

David Ortiz is on pace for 36 home runs, but his OPS (.839) is his lowest since 2009, when whispers of him being released in the wake of early-season struggles were the norm. Dustin Pedroia’s .271 batting average would be the worst of his career. The 4.08 runs per game Jackie Bradley, Jr., Grady Sizemore, A.J. Pierzynski, and company are scoring is the worst average since 1931.

We’re 39 percent of the way through the season. These are no longer concerns to scoff at. Mike Napoli's return to the lineup should help, but the outfield's production is so awful that it may come time to sit Bradley, despite what his defense delivers. Brock Holt playing left is a start. If Brock Holt is the answer, you were in deeper trouble to begin with.

How this gets better is anyone's guess. Just don't expect it to happen in 2014.


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