Opponents exploiting Red Sox weakness

Eric D. Schabell
Contributing Writer

It has been going on since coming back from the All Star break.

It has become a glaring weakness since the series against the Rays in July.

Opponents are picking up on it and hammering this advantage home.

What is this weakness you ask?

The Red Sox can't seem to figure out how to hit against southpaws, collectively failing to produce.

Since the Rays series in July they are one of the worst teams in the majors facing lefties and it has been going on for almost a month now. They have a .233 average (rank 21st), .299 OBP (rank 20th), .355 slugging mark (rank 22nd) and .654 OPS (22nd) against lefties.

They are 2-6 on the last road trip when facing a lefty starter. We are not talking about aces like Matt Moore and David Price, but just regular lefties like Bruce Chen and Brett Oberholtzer that have been shutting down the Red Sox lineup.

So what are the numbers for the Red Sox hitters?

Mike Napoli is supposed to mash against lefties, but is only hitting a solid line of .250/.343/.425.

Will Middlebrooks was called up also for his abilities to hurt lefties, but his .246/.297/.406 line against them this year hasn't been worth writing home about.

Jonny Gomes has a .167/.324/.433 line against lefties in the second half and a .203/.333/.398 overall line that is dismal when looking at his career numbers (.275/.377/.499) that convinced the Red Sox to sign him.

Shane Victorino has good numbers this year hitting from his natural side against lefties (.290/.338/.435) but they are behind on his career numbers (.300/.370/.501).

David Ortiz, one of the top hitters in the game against lefties over the last two years (with an OPS of .989 in 2011 and .985 in 2012) has been less than effective with a .267/.310/.418 line.

Stephen Drew continues to struggle against lefties, hitting .216/.275/.324 with 15 strikeouts in 40 plate appearances.

The Yankees are coming to town and two of the three games they will be starting lefties... surprise, surprise. Keep an eye on the production against Andy Pettitte in the first game and CC Sabathia in the third game of the series.

The Red Sox hitters need to figure this out and fast.

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