Just how bad are things right now with the Red Sox? Currently, they are losers of 7 straight games (all at Fenway), they're in 4th place in an AL East division that has severely underachieved, the veterans are struggling, the rookies are struggling, and worst of all: the Red Sox don't have a plan. Not one for now or even the future.
Every team in pro sports has a plan of attack. For some it is too contend and for others it is too have a youth movement, or rebuild as some would say. However the Red Sox aren't showing signs of going down either road. This is a problem.
At the end of last season, the Sox had won the World Series and were in a world of positives. With all of the veteran and young talent this ball club possessed, they were destined for many great years to come, or at least they though, especially after the 2012 Bobby Valentine disaster.
Currently, the Sox sit in 4th place in the AL East, 20-26, losers of there last 7, and are in a world of negatives, which for Sox players and fans, is not up to standards. Why? There are 4 main reasons as to why they are struggling and 3 reasons on what the Sox should think about as their "plan of attack".
Problems (1-4) Plans (5-7):
- Hitting with runners in scoring position: This is bad. This team is 3rd in the league in OBP but 11th with RISP (runners in scoring position). What does this mean? They can get guys on but can't exactly get them home. After last years offensive outburst, you'd think this years offense would at least be close to last years however, this is not the case.
- Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront: So far this season, these guys are holes: HUGE HOLES. For a team to contend, 2 of your 5 starters can not be this bad. Doubront is 2-4 with a 5.12 ERA. Buchholz is 2-4 with a 6.32 ERA and considered one of the worst in baseball right now. With these two performing the way they are, the Sox aren't going anywhere this year.
- No one is at their best: From the top of the lineup to the bottom, nobody is having a great year. Even David Ortiz isn't at his best. The "kids" aren't producing at where they should be, especially Will Middlebrooks who is being replaced by Bogaerts at third (Drew at Short). Even though the veterans are complaining, they still aren't producing either. Overall, this lineup is underachieving on a new level.
- No leadoff guy: From Pedroia, to Gomes, to today's leadoff guy Brock Holt, this team has yet to find that leadoff guy. However, in my opinion, they have one in-house: Xander Bogaerts. He has a great eye at the plate, gets on base a ton, and is really hot right now. Even with his not so great numbers with RISP, he can still hit leadoff since those numbers don't really matter for the leadoff spot.
- Try to contend: This team has the pieces to contend, however they just aren't working. This is almost the same team as last year (minus Ellsbury and Saltalamacchia) and we saw what this team could really do last year with all cylinders going. Once this team gets hot, they will continue to roll. It's just a matter of when they will or will they even. As the season goes on, they can also make other acquisitions as well to fill holes.
- Fire-Sale: They could start selling their players now. Younger guys like Bogaerts and Bradley Jr. could stay, while older guys could find themselves somewhere else. This would ultimately mean getting younger, lowering payroll, and building for the future. This would not go well with the fans, considering the teams 165 million dollar payroll, high ticket prices, and they are the Boston Red Sox: they have to be good. I do not think this team is ready for this, however if the Sox keep sinking, this must have to come across Ben Cherington's mind.
- Wait it out: This is a very smart plan, considering it is only May. What happened to the Dodgers last year? They were dreadful for the first 2 months and then turned it up in June and never looked back. Cherington and the Sox could let things play out. Letting things play out could help determine if they should go all in or if they should go all out.