Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Red Sox Week in Review: Sweep, then swept

It was a 4-3 week for the Sox, but it was very up and down. The week started off strong, with a sweep of the Blue Jays in Toronto, but the Sox were swept by the lowly Orioles in Camden in the next series. The bats woke up at home last night, with a 17-8 thrashing of the struggling Angels to open a ten game home stand. Hopefully the home stand goes well, as the Yankees come to Fenway for the weekend.

Overall the Red Sox scored a lot of runs over the past week (7/game), but also gave up an awful lot (5.9/game). A few very high scoring games bumped these numbers up though, with a 13-12 and and a 17-6 win, as well as an ugly 12-9 loss. These three games accounted for 39 of the 49 total runs scored, while there were also three low scoring, one run games scattered across the week. Thus far the Red Sox have played in 11 one run games so far this season, the most in the majors, and have gone 6-5, which is about what you'd expect. One interesting note is that the Red Sox are 1-5 in extra inning games, including 0-2 this past week.

Despite the high scoring games and a couple of close losses, the back end of the bullpen pitched well, in particular, the power right handed arms. Ramon Ramirez, Manny Delcarmen, Daniel Bard, and Papelbon combined for 14 2/3 innings while only allowing 11 base runners and three runs, one of which were unearned. The rest of the bullpen was a disaster though, with Okajima, Atchison, Wakefield, and Schoenweiss all getting roughed up. The problems with the bullpen after the top setup guys may account for the Sox' poor record in extra inning games; once Tito gets past the trusted arms, things get ugly fast. This is a bit of a surprise considering the Sox brought in a lot of arms to compete for the last couple bullpen spots.

Offensively, both Beltre and Drew are hitting well (13/30 and 11/28 respecitvely), although what really caught my eye is Tito's use of the bench. Unlike in past years, the Red Sox have been pretty aggressive with the use of pinch hitters, pinch runners, and defensive replacements; over the past week the Sox have used an average of 11 position players per game. This is probably due to the injuries to Ellsbury and Cameron, which leaves the Sox without a solid hitting center fielder with adequate range. Also, Ortiz and Lowell have been platooned, with Ortiz in particular being removed from the game when a left-handed reliever comes in. It will be interesting to see how Francona juggles playing time over the next week or two; neither Ortiz nor Lowell seem to be happy with the platoon situation, but Lowell is hitting and Papi is not. With only two lefties coming up this week (Kazmir and Sabathia), we'll see if they stick with the hot bat and start cutting into Ortiz' share of the platoon.

1 comment:

  1. I think the Sox need to consider doing something about Ortiz. He's just lost at the plate, and when you are a DH, that is a very, very bad thing. His batting eye hasn't totally tanked- his BB rates are similar to his career norms, and his approach remains good. He's swinging at fewer pitches out of the zone, but he is making less contact on pitches in and out of the zone. This leads to a strikeout rate of an insane, almost Austin Jackson level 36.5%. When he does make contact, the contact is weak. His infield fly around 16%, higher than his line drive percentage. All in all, I think this is more than just a slump.