Over the weekend, the Boston Red Sox were swept by the Detroit Tigers. Boston has lost four straight games and five of its last six. However, it was the way Detroit won those three games that was newsworthy.
The final scores for the games were 1-0, 6-1 and 6-2 respectively, meaning Boston managed just three total runs. According to ESPN Boston intern Kyle Brasseur on Twitter, “Three runs is the fewest the Red Sox have scored in a three-game series since Apr. 29 – May 1, 2008 against the Toronto Blue Jays.”
This leaves the Red Sox in fourth place in the AL East and a far cry from their offensively dominating, 97-win 2013 club. While this year’s team may not be as bad as 2012′s cellar-dweller, it also isn’t nearly as good as the team that won the World Series in 2013.
Part of the problem has certainly been pitching. Seemingly no one looks as good as they did a year ago. Clay Buchholz has been horrendous while John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront have all been mediocre or worse, leaving Jon Lester to attempt to anchor an entire staff on his own. Even though Lester has been Boston’s best arm by far, he somehow has managed to collect five losses already this season, bringing his record to 4-5.
However, the real problem is the offense. The Red Sox are 23rd in the league in batting average and 21st in slugging. No individual player even has a .300 batting average or .400 OBP right now, with outfield being a major problem area. Shane Victorino has been injured, Mike Carp and Jonny Gomes have been just okay in spot duty, and the hopes for Grady Sizemore and Jackie Bradley Jr. have not panned out. Neither player is getting on base or stealing to setup the rest of the lineup.
If Boston doesn’t figure out what to do in the outfield and get some production from those spots in the order, it will have no chance of repeating as champ.