Welcome to this week’s edition of Read Sox. This week, we’ll talk about some bad, bad pitching, some good, good hitting, and a couple young guys the Red Sox have that might make the minors look easy.
Over at WEEI, Rob Bradford talks about how the pitching this year has been nothing short of abysmal when facing AL East opponents. The Red Sox are a combined 10-22 against the other four teams in the division, and while that puts some blame on the offense as well, there have been notable pitching disasters against teams like Toronto and Baltimore. When you’re facing guys like Josh Donaldson, Adam Jones and Evan Longoria consistently throughout the year, your pitching has to be up to the task, and so far, the Red Sox staff has failed considerably in that department.
If you’re looking for any hope here, all I can offer you is this: the Red Sox were still in first place in the AL East for 17 days this season. Pretty hard to believe after what we’ve seen.
On a more positive note, Xander Bogaerts is turning into the hitter we all thought he would, and Tim Britton writes about his improvement with RISP fueling his meteoric rise to becoming one of the best shortstops in the AL. Bogaerts has been a bit more aggressive as of late, and that change in plate approach has boosted his OPS from .705 in May to .767 in June. He’s abandoned his pull-happy tendencies and it’s worked brilliantly, as he’s hitting .365 on balls hit to center & right. Chili Davis is even hinting that the best is yet to come – once he settles in with this new approach, his power should emerge.
Manny Being Manny 2: Electric Boogaloo? After setting fire to the Carolina League with a .316/.342/.474 slash line since May 30th, Manuel Margot got the call to Double-A Portland. Margot is only 20 years old, so even if he got promoted at the end of the year, he’d still be ahead of schedule in terms of average minor league development. Get excited.
You might have noticed it feels like Mookie Betts is hitting everything lately. That’s because he is. Since June 15th, Mookie has posted a .581 average with an OPS exceeding 1.500. You’d be hard-pressed to do that in MLB The Show. His confidence is on the rise, and with that comes video game numbers.
Hanley Ramirez hits baseballs very hard from time to time. While in Kansas City, he hit a ball so hard that it broke the record for highest apex of a home run on record. Jeff Sullivan even double-checked it with two separate databases to make sure that it was a legitimate moonshot.
Andrew Benintendi, the first-round selection of the Red Sox, won college baseball’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy – the Golden Spikes Award. The seventh overall pick was recognized as the top college baseball player in the nation, as well as an All-American and the SEC Player of the Year.
Three Good Game Stories
The Red Sox need to win these next few games against in-division teams, and as Sean McAdam writes, they got off to a pretty sad start on Tuesday.
On Sunday, the Red Sox looked like the team we fantasized about in March, as they routed the Royals thanks to a David Ortiz homer and 13 extra-base hits total.
Rick Porcello’s start Saturday was one to forget, as he still showed issues allowing homers, and doesn’t look like the pitcher the Red Sox paid to the tune of $82 million.
Photo by Brad Rempel/USA Today Sports Images