The Red Sox are currently tied with the Detroit Tigers for the most runs scored in the majors at 613. However, that doesn't mean the Sox couldn't use another slugger.
Lately the Red Sox have had trouble driving in runs. In last night's 2-1 loss to the Blue Jays, the Sox stranded 12 runners and went just 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. In their last five games, the Sox have left 54 men on base. On the year the Red Sox are hitting just .236 with runners in scoring position and two outs.
This Red Sox team has also struggled against left-handed pitching this season. They are batting .250 versus lefties on the year. Since the All-Star break, the Sox are hitting a meek .233 off southpaws. Only two Boston players are hitting over .270 against left-handers, Dustin Pedroia (.314) and Shane Victorino (.300).
In the past month the Red Sox have lost to left-handers Mark Buehrle, David Price, Matt Moore, Bruce Chen and to someone named Brett Oberholtzer. With all due respect to Mr. Oberholtzer, he's not exactly Randy Johnson. Boston will face have two more lefties against the Yankees this series. Veteran Andy Pettitte goes on Friday and CC Sabathia gets the ball on Sunday.
Is there an answer to the Red Sox recent scoring drought? What about their problems against left-handed pitching? The Sox could explore possible trade options before the August 31 deadline or they could look from within the organization.
The name of the Phillies Michael Young was linked to Boston before the non-waiver trade deadline a few weeks ago. In his career Young has traditionally been a strong hitter against left-handed pitching with a .310 lifetime average and a .829 OPS. Young's career average with runners in scoring position is a healthy .320 in 14 seasons. He could be an attractive option down the stretch.
A player that has cleared waivers and has also been rumored to Boston is left-handed first baseman Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins. Morneau is hitting .263 with 16 homers and 67 RBI this season. Morneau's career average with runners in scoring position is .285. In 11 big league seasons, Morneau has 853 RBI, over 500 of those have come with runners in scoring position. However, he may not be the answer versus southpaws. Morneau's hit just .252 in his career against lefties. With Morneau a free agent at the end of this season, he could be a cheap addition.
Another possibility is to finally promote Xander Bogaerts. While Bogaerts has not been facing major league caliber pitching, he has put up very solid numbers at Triple-A Pawtucket versus left-handed pitching. Bogaerts is 16-for-48 with four doubles, two homers, an OBP of .492 and a 1.034 OPS against southpaws. A competition at third base with Will Middlebrooks could cause one of the players to get hot. Bogaerts could also play shortstop as Stephen Drew is hitting just .192 against lefties on the year.
As the Red Sox head into the stretch run and push towards their first playoff appearance since 2009, they will need the bats to come alive, especially against left-handed competition. What say you Red Sox Lifer's?