The Red Sox have scored more runs than all but four teams in the major leagues, but you’d be hard-pressed to believe that if you watched only the past four games. Their run totals since Friday: 4, 2, 1, 3. When your runs column looks Tiger Woods’s scorecard, that’s not good.
Pine away for Clay Buchholz, but how’s any pitcher going to win if the Sox don’t score? During the past month, the Sox are tied for ninth in the majors in runs, but their .247 average over that span ranks 23d. Jason Bay is batting .183, Nick Green .143, and J.D. Drew .195. Most days, that’s a third of their lineup. Green’s recent struggles may be most alarming. In his career, he has a .712 OPS before the All-Star break and .545 after.
(Here’s something that won’t surprise you: Bay has a .279 batting average and .375 on-base before and after the All-Star break. The exact same. He is a streaky hitter, but his overall consistency is staggering.)
It’s been a strange season for the Sox. No one has had necessarily a bad season. But they haven’t been able to click at the same time as an entire lineup. Even though Dustin Pedroia has hit .343 over the past month, he’s still at .302 for the season. Point being, when Bay and Kevin Youkilis were going crazy, Pedroia was not.
(Here’s something no one would have guessed before the season: Jason Varitek and Dustin Pedroia each have the same OPS+. It’s 105.)
Again, because the Sox are fifth in the majors in runs, being critical of their offense after four rough games may be splitting hairs. In the American League East, though, half a hair means something.
The Red Sox last trailed anyone in the AL East on June 7. If the Sox lose and the Yankees win tonight, the Yankees will take over first place in the division. The Red Sox have Josh Beckett on the mound, which the precise scenario they would have hoped for. Beckett has been the perfect stopper for the Sox this season, and they need him to show why tonight.