It’s Wednesday, which can only mean one thing: it’s time for your weekly dose of Read Sox. This week the 2015 Red Sox are compared to Bobby Valentine’s 2012 team, David Ortiz rediscovers his swing and Brandon Workman undergoes Tommy John surgery.
How bad are the 2015 Red Sox? The 28-38 record is telling enough. But MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith took it a step further by comparing this muddled mess to the Bobby V fiasco that overtook Fenway Park in 2012. In fact, Smith explained why the current Red Sox are even worse, and didn’t need to look hard to find the evidence. The Sox were 31-32 on June 14 in 2012. Yes, just one game below .500. They actually were a game above .500 (53-52) on Aug. 1 and wouldn’t fall as far as the 2015 team has until September. By that point, the mega-deal that shipped Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers had been long completed. Like that team, the 2015 Sox have fallen victim to failing offseason moves. The Hanley Ramirez experiment in left field has been disastrous, until recently Pablo Sandoval was one of the team’s worst hitters and let’s not even begin to discuss the ace-by-committee starting rotation. But unlike 2012, it’s unlikely some high-buying club is going to let the Sox off the hook in one fell swoop. So the Red Sox will be stuck with a high payroll and ugly team numbers. They are 22nd in baseball in true average (.261) and own the second-worst team ERA (4.53). That’s who they apparently are.
Now for something a little more positive. David Ortiz hit his third home run in a four-game span on Sunday. As NESN.com’s Ricky Doyle notes, Sunday’s blast was No. 475 for Ortiz, moving him into a tie with Stan Musial and Willie Stargell for 29th on the all-time home run list. The home runs are part of a recent surge for Ortiz at the plate. He’s reached base in 11 of his last 22 plate appearances and has an RBI in six of the last nine games, improving his lowly TAv to .263 for the season. This has been an important stretch for Ortiz, who’s putting up the worst offensive numbers of his Red Sox career, leaving many to wonder whether the 39-year-old slugger is finally done. He’s received numerous mental and physical health days to try to regain his focus and swing, and rarely makes the lineup against lefties. He may not be hitting for average, but with nine home runs just over a third of the way through the season, Ortiz is still on track to hit between 20-30 homers. Fortunately for Ortiz and the Sox, signs of a turnaround are at least starting to show.
You probably weren’t expecting to see multiple positive links in this week’s post. But here’s at least one more from the weekend courtesy of Stephen Hewitt of the Boston Herald. It turns out Ortiz isn’t the only player rediscovering his stroke. After rough games both at the plate and at third in consecutive series against Texas and Minnesota, Sandoval was out of the lineup for the first two games of the series against Oakland. Since returning from his short break last Sunday, Sandoval has hit .400 with five doubles and six RBIs, and is in the midst of a seven-game hitting streak, putting himself in position for a nice turnaround of his own.
There’s no real analytical and statistical logic behind me including this piece from WEEI.com’s Ryan Hannable after the Blue Jays finished a sweep of the Red Sox on Sunday. But I’ve deemed it noteworthy due to the content of the story. What I find most baffling is the only player available to explain the state of the Red Sox after yet another loss was 22-year-old Xander Bogaerts. The veterans, meanwhile, darted from the clubhouse upon the media’s entry. As Owen Watson of Fangraphs writes in this detailed post, Bogaerts has come a long way from last season, turning into one of the team’s few positives in 2015. However, it’s striking to me that he’s the one left to be held accountable by the media for his failing team.
John Farrell tried addressing issues of effort and accountability before Monday’s game against the Braves when he, as the Providence Journal’s Brian MacPherson writes, held a team meeting in the clubhouse before allowing the media to enter. Given where the Red Sox stand, it appeared to be a last-ditch effort by the manager to salvage his team’s season – and maybe even his job. The Red Sox followed that night’s meeting with their seventh straight loss.
Brandon Workman underwent successful Tommy John surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews on Monday to repair an elbow injury that first bothered him in spring training. The Red Sox initially held off on the surgery, placing him on the 60-day disabled list in hopes that extended rest would be enough. The surgery could leave Workman out of baseball until midway through next season, which is a major setback for a 26-year-old still trying to make it as a full-time big leaguer.
Three Good Game Stories
Dustin Pedroia had some strong words regarding the negativity surrounding the Red Sox portrayed in the media. In light of that, ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes wrote a hilarious recap of Monday’s 4-2 loss to the Braves without uttering a single word of negativity about the team.
CSNNE.com’s Sean McAdam writes about how rookie phenom Eduardo Rodriguez came back down to earth in the Red Sox’s 13-5 loss to Toronto on Sunday.
The Red Sox gave up nine runs before recording an out in Friday’s 13-10 loss to the Blue Jays. The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier writes how that one inning was a microcosm of the team’s entire season.
Photo by Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports Images