Boston Red Sox: Offense takes a holiday before All-Star break

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 9: Dustin Pedroia
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 9: Dustin Pedroia /

The Boston Red Sox offense, who ended June and started July with a bang, was mostly listless as team lost three of four to Tampa Bay.

Playing your best baseball heading into the All-Star break can be both a blessing and a curse. For the Boston Red Sox, let’s hope a weekend of bad baseball is not a sign of things to come.

A team going into the All-Star break on fire–as the Red Sox were last weekend–might find the break to be not useful. Momentum is stopped, team gelling is halted and a major stumble could happen after the few days off.

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Heading down the back stretch of the season, a major slip-up could be hard to overcome.

It appears the Red Sox didn’t want to wait until July 14 to find out.

Struggling for most of the weekend, the offense put up only four runs in the three losses. An 8-3 victory on Friday night helped salvage the weekend from being a complete loss.

The good news? A stellar last two months has put Boston in first place in the A.L. East. Even with the tough series to close out the first-half, the Red Sox hold a 3.5 games lead over the Rays and the New York Yankees.

Scoring runs without the power

In today’s home run happy profession, being last in the league might indicate bad things for your team.

Fortunately, the Red Sox are still finding ways to score runs. They are currently fifth in the American League in runs scored while sporting the second-best batting average.

Imagine where they could be if they were pushing more runs across and not just getting on-base.

Big things were expected of Mookie Betts this season and, as the leadoff hitter, has been locating his power of the past few weeks. The highlight was an eight RBI day last weekend to cap off a torrid week.

Boston Red Sox
TORONTO, ON – JULY 2: Mookie Betts /

Xander Bogaerts–despite not being named to the A.L. team–is having an all-star season in his own right, while Dustin Pedroia is having another steady season. Even Hanley Ramirez, after a brief spell on the bench, has delivered 3 three-hit games since the start of July.

Even the third-base situation is improving. Deven Marrero is batting .450 in July and has 12 hits in his last ten games. The Double-A call-up Tzu-Wei Lin has been a pleasant surprise. Lin is hitting .333 since his arrival, with an OBP of .435

The last two months have seen the Boston Red Sox average nearly five runs per game, which should be more than enough to support a suddenly hot starting pitching staff.

A healthy, dominant starting five

The disappearing act of the offense coincided with a weekend full of strong pitching performances by Boston’s starting pitchers.

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Chris Sale (11-4, 178 K’s) had a rough go of things despite once again reaching double digits in strikeouts. He was a hard luck 4-1 loser to open the series.

Drew Pomeranz (9-4) picked up the win on Friday. The lefty has won his last three starts and has allowed only six earned runs in his last six outings.

David Price (4-2) and Rick Porcello (4-11) each delivered in their own way over the weekend. Price has been finding his groove as of late and pitched six innings of ball in Sunday’s loss, allowing only two runs.

Porcello, who has not been himself most of the season, pitched a complete game on Saturday. He was on the wrong end of a 1-0 result.

When these four are on the top of their game, the offense doesn’t need to be dropping seven runs per game. Throw in the return of Eduardo Rodriguez and Boston will have a starting staff that’s among the best in the game.

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Bringing it all back to the offense. Scoring seven runs every game would be nice. As Boston proved last week, they are a team capable of doing exactly that.

Coming out of the break, the Boston Red Sox start with seven straight home games versus the Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays. It’s as good a chance as any for the offense to put this extended holiday behind them.

Then the runs will come. And this little hiccup can long be forgotten.