BOSTON — The Red Sox are sticking to their guns.
The Red Sox — a team that led the majors with 853 runs scored in 2103 — fully intend to maintain their current offensive game plan despite the club’s struggles to light up the scoreboard this season.
“Overall, the one thing I will continually say is for the first 42 games, we’ve done a very good job of getting on base — third in the American League — and the disconnect is in the runs scored,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said before Sunday’s game against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park. “You go from third in on-base (percentage) to (10th) in runs scored, and that’s where I think opposing pitchers have managed our lineup a little bit to get to spots in it to shut off an inning, take advantage of possibly some inexperience, and yet we still can’t abandon our approach at the plate — that is to see pitches, grind out at-bats to get into a bullpen, hopefully sooner than later.”
The Red Sox enter Sunday’s series finale against the Tigers having lost four of their last five games — including two straight to Detroit — and Boston’s inability to produce runs is a big reason why. The Red Sox were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position in the first two games of their current series, dropping their season average in such situations to .240. By comparison, the 2013 Red Sox finished second in the American League with a .278 average with runners in scoring position.
Boston’s ongoing struggles come despite the club ranking third in the AL with a .332 on-base percentage and 171 walks drawn. In other words, as Farrell pointed out, the Red Sox’s issue isn’t rooted in the volume of opportunities they’re creating. It’s simply a matter of Boston not cashing in at a rate on par with last season.
So, is this something the Red Sox need to be proactive in addressing? Or is it a situation in which the timely hits eventually will come? For now, the Sox are hoping the latter holds true.
“We have the players that are here,” Farrell said. “We’re going to continue to put together a game plan to work to win each and every night. We’ve seen a couple of different alignments or lineups that has included everyone on this roster, and we’ll continue to work towards that end.”
That means the Red Sox, for the time being, will continue to rely on players throughout their struggles or — in the instance of shortstop Xander Bogaerts and outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. — any growing pains they might endure, regardless of how frustrating it might be.