Farrell: Sox offensive woes 'a little frustrating'

Farrell: Sox offensive woes 'a little frustrating'
July 2, 2014, 3:15 am
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BOSTON -- For the eighteenth time this season, the Red Sox scored one or no runs in their 2-1 loss to the Cubs on Tuesday.

That's something they did only 20 times all of last season -- and they still haven't hit the All-Star break.

As has often been the case in 2014, Boston had offensive opportunities. It just couldn't capitalize on them. They left 10 runners on base in defeat, including the bases loaded in the fifth inning when Mike Napoli grounded out to the shortstop on a ground ball up the middle that was probably a foot away from escaping Starlin Castro's glove and rolling into center field for a two-run single.

Manager John Farrell sounded a familiar refrain following the game. He rattled off the issues facing his team in its latest loss like a checklist of weekly chores.

"Left on base. Runners in scoring position," he said. "We created a number of opportunities tonight, particularly in that fifth inning after we put a run on the board, and Castro makes a heck of a play up the middle to shut down the final out in the inning.

"Yeah, it gets a little frustrating at times, particularly with the number of opportunities we continue to create. That's the thing we have to focus on internally is that the opportunities are there, and yet at times we're not cashing in."

In the second inning, the records will show that the Sox left one runner on base -- Napoli was stranded at third after a leadoff walk -- but two base running blunders kept a greater threat from materializing.

AJ Pierzynski was thrown out by several steps after trying to stretch a wall-ball single into a double, and Stephen Drew was picked off at first taking too large a secondary lead off the first base bag after walking for the first time since June 4.

"With two outs we tried to get a little early motion with Stephen to see what their coverage was," Farrell said, "and a little too aggressive [he] ends up kind of in no-man's land."

Even early in the game, those were the kind of mistakes that the Red Sox offense could not afford given the way they've been producing.

Clay Buchholz, who allowed one run in 6.1 innings, held out hope that things would turn around for the Sox offense.

"This game's tough," he said. "Gotta go out there and it'll click for the offense and the pitching staff together at some point. It's not like it's never gonna work out so you just gotta stay confident and know what you gotta do. Gotta do your job, do what you can do, and do the little things right. Let everything else take care of itself."

Dustin Pedroia, one of the lone offensive bright spots for the Sox with three hits and an RBI single in the fifth, insisted the same.

"Every day's a new day," he said. "We play a lot of baseball games. We're not thinking it's going to go the other way. We're thinking tomorrow we're gonna come out and win games."
The Red Sox's confidence in their bats has remained steadfast all season. That has not been the issue. But too often they haven't had anything to show for it.