The Boston Red Sox’s offensive futility is becoming more troubling with each passing day. It’s as if the script is written before the actors even arrive on set.
The Red Sox have scored three runs or fewer in each of their last eight games after suffering a 2-1, 10-inning loss to the Oakland Athletics on Saturday at O.co Coliseum. Amazingly, Boston has managed three wins in that span by virtue of phenomenal pitching, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to have faith in the offense’s ability to eventually break through.
“There were a number good things that went on inside this ballgame,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said Saturday after Coco Crisp delivered a walk-off, RBI single to hand Boston its third straight loss. “There were a number of golden opportunities, particularly in the sixth and the top of the 10th for us. We don’t come away with picking up a run in either of those cases. … Unfortunately, a couple of missed opportunities earlier in the ballgame set up the significance of (Edward Mujica’s) leadoff walk in the 10th (that led to Oakland’s game-winning run).”
Offensive struggles have been the theme of the Red Sox’s 2014 season. The Red Sox began their World Series defense with a one-run output against the Baltimore Orioles on Opening Day — during which they went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base — and aside from some occasional flashes, not much has changed over the last two-plus months. After going 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position Saturday, the Red Sox now are 4-for-46 (.087) in such situations over their last eight games.
“It’s a break here and there,” Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said after Saturday’s loss. “It’s one good swing away from winning the game, and we haven’t done that.”
Pedroia’s sentiment is understandable, and it’s one seemingly shared universally throughout the Red Sox’s clubhouse. If only Boston could produce a few extra clutch knocks, the club would be in much better shape than seven games below .500 (34-41). Consider it looking at the glass as half full.
“Honestly, I look at it like this. We are very close to becoming a team that will go on a run for an extended period,” Farrell said Saturday after Boston’s seventh one-run game in eight contests. “We’ve got a number of strong things already in place and that is pitching — both in terms of our rotation and our bullpen. I think we’re playing very good defense.
“(But) we’ve had situations get away from us as far as men in scoring position.”
The Red Sox’s pitching has been so good — Boston’s hurlers have allowed four runs or fewer in a season-long 10 straight games — that it’s entirely possible a turnaround is in the cards. After all, good pitching typically is considered the key ingredient to postseason success. But there also comes a point when one must take a step back and assess whether subscribing to the “the hits will come” philosophy is more sound logic or blind faith.
The Red Sox are nearing that point, even though their confidence, on the surface, sounds unwavering.