Red Sox Notes: Lack Of Timely Extra-Base Hits Haunting Sox Early In Season

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The Boston Red Sox suffered a disappointing loss at Fenway Park on Friday as they were thumped by the Tampa Bay Rays 10-5.

Rick Porcello turned in his worst outing in recent memory. The Red Sox ace was shelled for eight runs over 4 1/3 innings of work and included four home runs, including a grand slam in the third inning.

Tampa Bay’s pop at the plate is what earned it the victory, as Boston actually outhit their American League East rival by a 14-12 margin. However, only three of Boston’s hits went for extra bases (three doubles).

Boston’s best scoring opportunity came when it loaded the bases in the fourth inning, but an inning-ending groundout off the bat of Pablo Sandoval prevented the Sox from plating even a single run in the frame.

This lack of timely and extra-base hits has become a theme for Boston in the young season. Through 10 games, Boston has just four home runs. To put that in perspective, Porcello and Steven Wright each gave up four long balls in outings this week. Unsurprisingly, the Sox are tied with the Toronto Blue Jays for last in Major League Baseball in homers.

Hitting, in general, is not the problem for the Red Sox to start the season. The team has a collective .267 batting average, which is good for fourth in the majors. However, they rank near the bottom in slugging percentage, which explains their mediocre run total.

It’s only a matter of time before the Red Sox bats really wake up, so there shouldn’t be too much cause for concern in Boston. Still, failing to break out on offense has plagued the Red Sox early this season, as starting pitcher Chris Sale has experienced on two occasions already.

Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Rays:

–Rick Porcello did not look like the reigning American League Cy Young winner by any means Friday night. His poor outing snapped his streak of 43 consecutive starts in which he went five innings or longer.

–Mookie Betts recorded his first RBI of the season as part of a four-hit performance against the Rays. Betts continues to be one of the best contact hitters in the big leagues, as he hasn’t struck out in his last 110 plate appearances.

–Andrew Benintendi recorded Boston’s first run of the ball game when he singled in Dustin Pedroia in the fifth inning. The Red Sox outfielder now has reached safely in each of Boston’s 10 games this season.

–Xander Bogaerts recorded his third consecutive multi-hit game Friday night. It was his 22nd multi-hit performance dating back to last season, which is good for third in the AL.

–Robby Scott was the lone Red Sox pitcher to record a perfect inning when he pitched a flawless ninth. He’s the only pitcher in the live-ball era to start his career with 12 consecutive scoreless outings. The left-hander continues to position himself as one of manager John Farrell’s best options out of the bullpen.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images

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