The Boston Red Sox are left putting the pieces together due to a COVID-19 outbreak that has sidelined Kiké Hernández, Christian Arroyo, Xander Bogaerts and a handful of other impactful players.
Well, the impact on the lineup has been easy to notice with Danny Santana, Jack López and Jonathan Araúz filling in as Boston’s seven, eight and nine batters, respectively. López, of note, made his major league debut Wednesday. And despite the fact the bottom four batters went a combined 0-for-11 in Thursday’s win over the Tampa Bay Rays, manager Alex Cora was left encouraged by the offense.
“I mean, we’re controlling the strike zone,” Cora said on a postgame video conference. “I know we struck out a lot (12 times) but Hunter (Renfroe) goes the other way, (Araúz) walks twice, (Santana) walks twice, (Kyle) Schwarber gets on twice. Overall, it was pretty solid.”
Santana and Araúz were responsible for all of Boston’s four walks as each were granted a base on balls twice.
“This is where we are right now with these kids playing,” Cora said. “The bottom of the lineup doesn’t look great, but if they can put competitive at-bats and get that pitch count up, like (Araúz) did in his walk, I think it was 11 pitches, right? We’ll take that.”
Boston’s top of the lineup — Renfroe, Schwarber, J.D. Martinez, Rafael Devers, Bobby Dalbec — picked up the slack. That group combined for all nine of the team’s hits as Devers was the only member that finished with one.
Dalbec was responsible for a pair of RBIs on two run-scoring singles while Renfroe and Martinez came away with RBIs, too. Boston finished with nine hits and was .500 with runners in scoring position (4-for-8).