Boston Red Sox: 3 things the team needs to do to break their slump

Alex Verdugo #99 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
Alex Verdugo #99 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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Boston Red Sox
Nick Pivetta #37 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

Boston Red Sox slump buster No. 2: Get some strikeouts

Boston’s most recent win was a 4-1 victory over the Tigers. The lineup hit some home runs which was great, but the pitching staff did something they hadn’t done in awhile, and that we get some strikeouts. In total, Boston’s pitchers struck out 18 batters that contest.

Boston’s pitching as a whole has been regressing for a month or two now, and while part of it is due to them regressing to the mean after a hot start, another is their inability to get hitters out. While pitching to contact is good sometimes, Boston’s pitching staff has been getting carried away with it, and they are losing outs as a result.

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Let’s take Nathan Eovaldi’s meltdown in the fifth inning of last night’s 12-4 loss to the Blue Jays. Not counting an intentional walk to Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Eovaldi faced eight batters that inning, and got to two strikes on five of the batters he faced. Of those five batters, he only managed to get one of them out.

When the count is in your favor as a pitcher, your chances of getting the batter out increase drastically. The fact that Eovaldi couldn’t get out of this inning just amounts to poor pitching. You can argue it’s a one time incident, but recently it hasn’t been.

Boston’s pitching staff admittedly doesn’t feature a ton of guys who will rack up strikeouts, but the numbers have been at an all time low this season. They were frequently racking up double digits K’s per game early on in the season as a unit, but have only managed to do four times over the last 13 games.

This could be labeled as picky, but this is an issue that is costing the Sox games right now. Their starters haven’t been able to get deep into games lately, and this is a big reason why. They can’t get guys to strikeout anymore, which means more batters are getting on base, which then leads to more runs.

Getting back to controlling counts and attacking hitters needs to be emphasized in future games. Opposing lineups are wearing down Boston’s starters by simply forcing them to burn pitches on them because they can’t strike them out. Until they can figure out how to sit down hitters, Boston’s pitching is most likely going to continue to struggle.