The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Red Sox Recap, May 6-12

Andrew Miller was lights-out for the Red Sox this past week, striking out
seven and not allowing a hit  in 3.1 innings (AP photo Michael Dwyer)

Jan-Christian Sorensen Contributing Writer

Everybody out from under the covers and back on board the bandwagon — the Sox are above .500 for the first time since way back on April 4.

While the Boston offence is still struggling to find a discernible rhythm and the pitching hasn’t been of the same caliber as Red Sox Nation was accustomed to last season (Clay Buchholz, white courtesy phone…) the Sox managed to put together a 4-1 week to climb into second spot in an American League East Division that is having a collective problem scoring runs.

Of the five teams in the AL East race, only one — the Toronto Blue Jays, at +15 — have a positive run differential. Boston is closest, at -4, with the league-leading Baltimore Orioles at -5, while the New York Yankees are -13 and the basement-dwelling Tampa Bay Rays are last at -17.

While Boston’s batting average with runners in scoring position ticked up a tiny bit from .222 to .230 this week — the Sox left 39 men on base and cashed in a dozen runners in scoring position in five games over the past week — the Old Towne Team is still languishing in 21st place among MLB teams in terms of making the most out of RISP.

Here’s a look back at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from Week Six:

Overall record: 19-18, tied for 2nd place in AL East
Past week: 4-1 (series sweep of Cincinnati; series win at Texas)
Runs Scored: 21
Runs Allowed: 19
Team BA: .244 (21st in MLB)
Team ERA: 3.68 (17th in MLB)

Top 3 Defenders of the Nation:

1. Shane Victorino, RF: The Flyin’ Hawaiian took flight this past week, hitting .300 with five RBI, one walk and one stolen base in five games. After missing most of the first month with a right hamstring strain, Victorino is now hitting .273 on the season and .325 over his last ten games.

2. Andrew Miller, RP: Miller Time? You bet. The lefty reliever continued to announce his presence with authority this past week, striking out seven and allowing neither a hit nor a run in 3.1 innings of work. He’s now sporting a 1.93 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 9.1 innings of work over his last 10 games. Overall, he’s 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA and 23 Ks in 18 games so far this season.

3. David Ortiz, DH: Big Papi woke up in a big way against Cincinnati and Texas, hitting .421 in five games with two doubles, a homer, two RBI and four walks. His slugging percentage during the five-game span was .684 while his OPS was 1.206.

Honourable Mention: Craig Breslow, RP: Breslow gave up two hits but no runs and struck out three in three innings to pick up a pair of crucial wins in three appearances for the Sox this week. The steady lefty also lowered his ERA from 7.50 to 4.50.

Top 3 Offenders of the Nation:

1. Clay Buchholz, SP: Oh, Clay. Why do you keep popping up in this column? The on-again, off-again starter was definitely off again in his one start this past week in Texas, allowing six earned runs on 10 hits in just 4.1 innings to fall to 2-3 with a 6.44 ERA on the season.

Xander Bogaerts continued to struggle at the plate for the
Sox this past week, hitting just .063 (Matt West/Boston Herald)
2. Xander Bogaerts, SS: The rookie phenom looked pretty rocky in the past week, with only one hit in 16 at bats (.063) with one walk and seven strikeouts. The X-Man is now hitting just .182 in his last ten games with 13 Ks and 0 RBI.

3. Will Middlebrooks, 3B: While Will still managed to knock in the go-ahead RBI in a May 7 game against the Reds that allowed the Sox to climb back to .500 for the first time in more than a month, that was his only moment of glory in four games. He only hit .143 with four strikeouts aside from that one highlight.

Dishonourable mention: Junichi Tazawa, RP: The normally steady setup man was shaky this past week in two appearances, allowing two earned runs on three hits and one walk in two innings of work, posting an ERA of 9.00 and an opponent average of .429.

High Point of the Week:

May 7: After A.J. Pierzynski knotted the score up with a ground-rule double down the line in right at Fenway Park on May 7 against the Reds, Will Middlebrooks gave the Sox a 4-3 lead that they would hold onto to bring the team back to the .500 mark for the first time since April 4.

Low Point of the Week:

May 9: Texas strikeout machine Yu Darvish had both a near-perfect game and a no-hit bid broken up late in the game against Boston on May 9. An error on a David Ortiz popup ended the perfect game chance in the seventh and Big Papi recorded Boston’s lone hit in the game in the ninth to squash the no-hitter, but Darvish still got the win and struck out a dozen Boston batters in 8.2 innings of work. 

Highlight Line of the Week:

May 10, John Lackey, SP: 7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 3.57 ERA, W (5-2).

Lowlight Line of the Week:

May 9, Clay Buchholz, SP: 4.1 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 6.44 ERA, L (2-3).

Injury Updates:

Knock on wood. The Red Sox have so far escaped relatively unscathed on the injury front. Currently, only pitcher Steven Wright, who is recovering from sports hernia surgery and hit the 60-day Disabled List April 7, is out of commission.

On Tap This Week:

The Red Sox take their 9-7 road record into Minneapolis for a three-game set starting tonight against the 17-19 Minnesota Twins before returning home to Fenway Park, where the Red Sox will try to improve on a 10-11 home record against the 22-12 Detroit Tigers in a three-game series that begins Friday night.

Keep the Faith. Drink the Dirty Water. Connect with me on Twitter: @jan_doh