Red Sox look to bounce back in series finale

Robert Bouffard - Contributing Writer
Photo Courtesy of CBS Boston - CBS Local

The Red Sox are in the midst of an important stretch of games against mediocre to bad teams. They need to win to keep pace with the Yankees, who have built up a two game lead in the AL East. But so far, they don’t seem to be up to the task.

In their last 15 games, they’ve played the Tigers, White Sox, Orioles, Mariners and Twins. Out of that group, only the Mariners have a winning record. In that 15 game span, the Red Sox are only 8-7. The only time they really took care of business the way they were supposed to, was against the Orioles, who have the worst record in baseball. Otherwise, they have lost series, and looked bad doing it.

Most recently, the Red Sox have dropped the first two of a three-game series against the Twins. In those two games, they were outscored 10-3.

On top of their inability to score in big situations – they were 2-22 with runners in scoring position in those games, and 0-9 last night – the pitching has also been frustrating on occasion. On Tuesday, after tying the game at two in the top of the eighth, Robby Scott and Joe Kelly combined to give up four runs in the bottom of the eighth.

But the offense is the real worrisome aspect in this situation. Over the last seven days, all but three of the Red Sox are hitting .238 or lower. As a team, their combined batting average over that span is a measly .219. What’s worse is that their slugging percentage is all the way down at .320, which is just awful compared to their .447 mark for the whole season.

Though, some of this is just a product of bad luck. For instance, Jackie Bradley Jr., who seems to be slumping again after just starting to break out, has been hitting the ball well. It’s just all been for outs.

Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers have also shown glimpses of breaking out of slumps. Bogaerts has three homeruns in his last six games – all of which came in the series win against Seattle. Overall, he’s slugging .680 in that span. Devers is batting .292 in that span with two homers and four runs scored.

The Red Sox are getting nothing out of second base and catcher offensively, though. Eduardo Núñez is batting .176 with a .459 OPS in his last 10 games and Christian Vázquez isn’t doing much better.

They won’t be trading for a catcher at the deadline, but they could be in the market for an infielder. MassLive’s Chris Cotillo suggests the Red Sox could target former Red Sox and current Oakland A Jed Lowrie. The A’s are close to being out of contention and are known to trade away their bigger names when the team isn’t good. Lowrie is hitting .285 with 11 homers and an .820 OPS. This is much better than what they’re getting out of Núñez and better than what Brock Holt could give them as a regular player. With Dustin Pedroia not close to coming back, maybe this is worth looking into.

The Red sox have a good chance to get back on track today against Kyle Gibson. Gibson has pitched well of late, but some of the Red Sox have had decent success against him in the past. In particular, J.D. Martinez, who faced Gibson often when they were both in the AL Central. Martinez is batting .360 with two homers against Gibson in 25 at bats.

Every team goes through slumps. Even the Red Sox. But they have enough talent that they could turn it around at any time. It was only a few days ago that they were scoring nine runs due to three homers on Father’s Day. They’ll be okay.

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