Last season, the Red Sox carried one of the best offenses in the major leagues. Even without David Ortiz this year, the lineup had equal expectations to open the year.
MVP candidate Mookie Betts, shortstop Xander Boagerts and promising rookie Andrew Benintendi were suppose to build on their seasons from last year. Newly acquired Mitch Moreland was suppose to be a big bat to help replace Ortiz. Hanley Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia were veterans that were expected to be productive at the plate.
Now for the odd part; a majority of these things are happening, but the offense still isn't working. The Red Sox have started 11-10 and have scored one run or less in five of those losses, including getting shutout in three of their last seven games.
Moreland, Betts, Boagerts and Benintendi are all hitting over .295, but Ramirez and Pedroia have gotten off to slow starts.
Moreland's bat has been one of the brightest spots in the Red Sox lineup this season, hitting .295 with 13 XBH Photo Courtesy of the Associated Press
The Red Sox are tied for 27th in runs scored through 21 games this season. Boston has the worst homers and the sixth-worst slugging percentage in all of baseball. They've lacked power, but have been hitting the ball.
The Sox own the lowest strike out percentage in baseball, seventh-best walk percentage and fourth-best batting average. The Red Sox have 190 hits, tied for ninth in the MLB. They've hit just 11 home runs, the worst mark in the majors and own the sixth worst slugging percentage at .368. Getting on base is not the problem, hitting for power is.
With the runners on base, hitting with runners in scoring position is also not the problem. The Sox are hitting .282 in those situations, seventh-best in baseball. However, the poor baserunner-to-runs ratio can be explained. The Red Sox are currently the second-worst base running team in baseball, according to Fangraphs. They have also grounded into the third-most double plays.
But with a lineup with this much talent, this is no time to panic.
The Red Sox still sit in third place in the AL East, just 3 1/2 games back of the Baltimore Orioles. Looking around the whole MLB, other teams with high expectations are struggling as well. As of Friday morning, the St. Louis Cardinals (11-11), Los Angeles Dodgers (11-12) and the Texas Rangers (10-12) all sit with worse records than Boston. They are also just one game behind the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians (12-9), last years pennants winners.
So April is no time to panic, but the bats need to start producing if the Red Sox want to make a long run this season.