Red Sox Bats Arrive Late in Loss to Indians as Tight-Game Trend Continues


Red Sox Bats Arrive Late in Loss to Indians as Tight-Game Trend Continues Lost in all of the drama that surrounded the Red Sox' weekend of walk-offs is the fact that the offense remains dormant.

When you're jumping all over each other, smacking one guy on top of the head repeatedly and acting like a Little League team that just earned post-practice pizza, the small numbers on the scoreboard tend to go unnoticed.

But when your starter struggles against a weak lineup and you manage just two runs through the first seven innings against a last-place team at home, it becomes a bit more apparent that the slump continues.

Sure, Boston had 13 hits in Monday's 6-5 loss to the lowly Cleveland Indians, but the breakout performances we became accustomed to in May and June remain elusive. For the 17th time in 20 games, the Red Sox were held to under six runs, all this for a team that was averaging nearly six runs per game through the first three months of the season.

Adrian Beltre hit two home runs and drove in all five runs for Boston. The rest of the club failed to produce a big hit, a common theme throughout the nearly month-long funk.

"We needed him to hit one more time," manager Terry Francona said of Beltre. "We dug ourselves a hole and when we tried to dig out of it, it was too much."

That, too, has been a common theme — the Sox have played from behind at some point in 16 of their 18 games since the All-Star break. In the two in which they never trailed, they allowed the opponent to tie the game in the late innings and force Boston to mount another rally to win it, one of which came in the 13th inning and another in the ninth.

The club's 3.9 runs per game in the second half, coupled with some pretty solid starting pitching over that span, has led to a never-ending string of tight affairs. The Red Sox' last four games have been decided by one run and they are tied for the major league lead in games decided by such a scant margin, going 19-18 in those contests.

Entering Monday, no American League team had played more than Boston's 12 extra-inning games.

Much of the slump can be traced to Dustin Pedroia's absence, but a drop of over 100 points in team OPS from June to July seems to signal something deeper. Strikeouts soared while walks were down in July and the team-wide slugging we saw earlier on has become a bit more average.

Following the most recent setback, the Sox turned their attention to David Huff, the starting pitcher for Cleveland on Tuesday. Huff sports a 6.04 ERA and is being summoned from Triple-A Columbus just to make the start, seemingly an easy target for the offense which once led the majors in runs scored.

Just in case, the sign on the dry erase board leaving the Red Sox clubhouse detailed the club's plans to break out of this thing Tuesday afternoon:

"Extra Hitting — 3 p.m."

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