Editor's note: NESN.com is going to tell the story of the 2012 Red Sox in Bobby Valentine’s words. Each game day, we will select the best Valentine quote that sums up the day for the Red Sox.
It's not necessarily original or profound to point out that baseball is a game of streaks, and that teams are going to have to wade through the valleys in addition to enjoying the peaks. Then again, much of sports is neither original nor profound, and often cliches are the best truths.
This seems to be the case with the Red Sox right now, who can't hit with men in scoring position. Since the beginning of the West Coast swing through Seattle and Oakland, the stats tell much of the story. Over the past five games, the Sox have hit .215 with a paltry .322 slugging precentage. Even more telling is the fact that they've left an impressive 37 men on base over the past five days.
On Tuesday night, the Red Sox — holding a 2-1 lead — got their first two men on in both the eighth and ninth innings yet failed to score any insurance runs, a fact that would come back to bite them in the buttocks in the ninth, as the Athletics handed the Sox their third walk-off loss of the West Coast swing. Whether it was Jarrod Saltalamacchia striking out swinging or Nick Punto popping up a bunt into a double play, the execution with men on base was not what the team would hope.
But manager Bobby Valentine didn't sound too worried about his offense after the game. Nor should he be, really.
"You go through cycles where you get three and four of them in a row with two outs, and it looks easy," Valentine said. "Then you can't get the one, and it looks like it's impossible. It's not impossible. We have good hitters. We'll get some hits."
The more intense Sox fans may be upset at Valentine's seemingly laid-back approach, but this a team full of hitters with great, proven track records, and it is just a bizarre baseball anomaly that everyone seems to be slumping — with men on, in particular — at the same time. Luckily, Valentine is not reactionary, and he understands the hits will come.
Moreover, reinforcements are on the way, as the Sox have been missing arguably their best hitter, Jacoby Ellsbury, for basically all season. But even sans the speedy center fielder, this is a team that boasts a lineup with Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez and impressive rookie Will Middlebrooks right in the middle of it. These are players who will produce, and that is something you can bet on — this team is still second in Major League Baseball in runs scored.
It may be a cliche, but just be patient on the Red Sox offense. As we all know, cliches are usually the biggest truths in sports.