The Red Sox 5-9 Start is Nothing to Worry About
- Updated: April 21, 2010
Before last night’s walk off win thanks to OF Darnell “I’m Loving It!” McDonald’s walk off hit, the Red Sox had lost their last five games and 9 out of their last 12, after opening the season with a win against the Yankees. McDonald actually went 2 for 2 with 2 clutch hits, the first being a game tying HR and the second being a bases loaded walk off single scrapping the Green Monster just out of the reach of the leaping Rangers LF Josh Hamilton.
They have suffered injuries to two thirds of their AL best defensive OF in CF Mike Cameron to due to passing a kidney stone and now an abdominal strain has put him on the DL (AAA OF Josh Reddick takes his spot on the roster). Cameron missed at least three games due to these injuries before landing on the DL.
The other casualty has been leadoff hitter and LF Jacoby “The Human Spark Plug” Ellsbury after he collided with the knee of 3B Adrian Beltre on the 11th. The Red Sox were 1-7 with their leadoff hitter and all time single season base stealer out of the lineup before placing him on the DL (AAA OF Darnell McDonald took his spot on the roster).
Obviously the loss of their gloves and Ellsbury’s on base skills along with their base running excellence have attributed, to some extent, to that 1-7 record.
The Slumping Giants
The Sox currently have six opening day starters hitting under .270 with five of them hitting .250 or worse, 4 of them hitting .240 or worse and two of them hitting under the Mendoza Line (Mario Mendoza‘s lifetime batting average is .215, the Mendoza Line is said to occur at .200). The culprits are SS Scutaro at .265, C/1B/DH Martinez at .250, 1B/3B Youkilis at .240, CF Cameron at .233, DH Ortiz at .146 and RF Drew at .133. To top it all off, they combine for only 5 HRs and 18 RBIs while striking out 66 times with only 33 walks!
These numbers have got to improve if they are to stop loosing.
The Good News
It’s almost May and that’s when # 2 starter Jon Lester comes out of his April cocoon and starts pitching well again (sometimes this happens in late April which would be a much needed shot in the arm).
Also, Ellsbury’s DL stint is retroactive to the 12th so he will be available to come off the DL around the 26th (Monday) if he can breathe and take good cuts at the plate without the pain in his ribs he’s had since the collision.
We all know that JD Drew is a streaky hitter at best & when he’s on one of those streaks, he’s been known to carry a team and he is too good of a pure hitter to stay in this prolonged slump much longer. Likewise, Kevin Youkilis is less of a streak hitter and must be trying too hard to make up for the lack of offense from the loss of Jason Bay’s bat in this Boston line up. Once he remembers that he has players like Pedroia and Victor Martinez in front of him he should be able to relax more at the plate and start hitting like the .300 hitter he typically is.
Lastly, with Toto pinch hitting Lowell for Ortiz last night against the lefty Darren Oliver, it looks like the Red Sox might start a platoon at the DH slot in the line up with Lowell going up there against lefties and Ortiz going up against only righties. Ortiz’s pride will be hurt at first, but at this point in his career or until he starts hitting like he did from July on of last year, but it’s the better move for Lowell, the team AND Ortiz as this should help him to break out of this slump if he ever does!