First Pitch: Red Sox offense has lost its grip


First Pitch: Red Sox offense has lost its grip

OAKLAND -- Cody Ross, surveying the carnage in the wake of a hugely disappointing road trip, let out an audible sigh when he was asked about the underperforming Red Sox lineup.
The same lineup that scored a grand total of 14 runs in seven games.
The same lineup that hit a not-so-robust .200 (48-for-240) for the trip.
The same lineup that was a brutal .114 (5-for-44) in the last seven games.
Yes, that one.
The same one, by the way, that is still ranked second in the American League in runs scored, third in the league in slugging and first in extra-base hits.
"I mean . . . I don't know . . . there's really no words for it,'' concluded Ross after Wednesday's 3-2 loss to Oakland, which sent the Sox back home with a 2-5 mark in the seven games against the A's and Seattle Mariners. "That's baseball.''
It's just not very good baseball on the part of the Red Sox.
In the seven games out west, the Red Sox offense went south. Only once did the team score more than two runs in any one game. Until the road-trip finale, only one player had more one RBI (Jarrod Saltalamacchia).
The Sox managed seven homers on the trip, but tellingly, six of them came with the bases empty.
"Our offense has just been that terrible,'' said Ross. "There's no need to sugarcoat it. It sucked, basically.''
Actually, the trip continued a season-long pattern. The Sox have the second-most runs in the game as a team and when the trip began had the second-biggest run differential of any team in the American League.
But that speaks to the Sox' habit of piling on in one-sided games. Twelve times they've scored double figures in runs.
In lower-scoring games, however, they seem unable to come up with the necessary hit when it's needed the most. When the Sox score four runs or fewer, they're a lowly 7-35.
Certainly, no blame can be assigned to the pitching on the trip. In the seven games, the Red Sox got quality starts six times. And even when they didn't -- Daisuke Matsuzaka's one-inning-plus implosion Monday night -- they got seven innings of one-run relief from the bullpen, keeping the game within reach.
Not that the offense took advantage.
"As good as our offense is,'' said Ross, "to get three-hit Wednesday . . . I think we scored all of eight runs (actually, 14) for the road trip. That's crazy. We've scored eight runs in an inning before and against really good teams. Out here we played two teams that are sub-.500 and got the crap beat out of us.''
The culprits were eveerywhere. Three players -- Saltalamacchia, David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia -- combined to knock in almost half (six) of the 14 runs for the tripl
Adrian Gonzalez, whom the Sox are paying handsomely to produce runs, didn't drive home a single run until he singled home Ortiz in the sixth inning of the final game on the trip.
"We're all pressing,'' acknowledged Ross. "We're all trying to get something going. We're not getting that big hit when we need it. We can't seem to push anything across.''
Perhaps the Yankees, coming to town for a four-game set which will wrap up the first half, are just the tonic. The Yanks are without their two best starters (CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte) and their mere presence may create some energy and excitement at Fenway, enough to rouse the slumbering Boston attack.
That's the hope, from the Red Sox' perspective, anyway. Nothing else seemed to work on the road, including and especially their bats.

Dombrowski, Red Sox making adjustments in wake of recent departures


Dombrowski, Red Sox making adjustments in wake of recent departures

In recent days and weeks, the Red Sox have lost their general manager, their vice president of amateur and international scouting, an assistant director of amateur scouting, a member of their analytics department and their mental skills coach.

But Dave Dombrowski, the team's president of baseball operations, insists that the team is not in danger of "brain drain.''

"No, not at all,'' said president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski in a conference call with reporters. "We've lost some good people, but it's also a situation where we have a lot of good people and I think when you have a good organization, if you're winning and you expose people to situations, (a certain amount of exodus) happens. I think the other part of it is that we're more than capable of filling some of those roles from an internal perspective. We've got some quality people and I think the thing that's great about it is, it allows people to grow.''

Dombrowski announced that, in the wake of the departure of Amiel Sawdaye, the former VP of amateur and international scouting who left Monday to become assistant GM of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Sox were promoting Eddie Romero, formerly the vice president of international scouting, to the position of senior vice president/ assistant GM.

Romero, the son of former Red Sox utility infielder Eddie Romero Sr. will help Dombrowski in personnel matters and player development, while Brian O'Halloran, who has the same title as Romero, will continue to handle administrative matters including salary arbitration and contactual negotiations.

After the departure of Mike Hazen, who left to become GM of the Diamondbacks last week, Dombrowski interviewed Sawdaye and Romero as Hazen's potential replacements before determining that neither had the necessary experience yet to become a major league GM.

Dombrowski said there would be additional internal promotions and adjustments to announce in the coming weeks. He added that senior advisors Frank Wren and Allard Baird, each former general managers, would see their responsibilities increase when it comes to conducting trade talks with other organizations.

Sawdaye's departure is one of several this off-season for the front office. Earlier this month, Steve Sanders, who had been the team's assistant director of amateur scouting, left to become director of amateur scouting for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Also, Tom Tippett, a longtime member of the team's statistical analysis staff, will leave soon too pursue other opportunities. The team recently informed mental skills coach Bob Tewksbury that his contact would not be renewed, according to the Boston Globe.

Dombrowski indicated that Laz Gutierrez would be promoted to take the place of Tewksbury.

In other news, Dombrowski revealed that the entire coaching staff -- hitting coach Chili Davis; assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez; first base coach Ruben Amaro Jr.; third base coach Brian Butterfield; bullpen coach Dana LeVangie; pitching coach Carl Willis; and bench coach Torey Lovullo -- had all agreed to return for 2017.

That, of course, is subject to change since Lovullo is believed to be a target of Hazen for Arizona's managerial vacancy.

Dombrowski said the Diamondbacks had yet to request permission to speak with Lovullo, though that may happen soon now that Hazen has hired Sawdaye to fill out his front office.

When Hazen was hired by the Diamondbacks, he was limited to hiring just one member of the Red Sox' Baseball Operations staff. But, Dombrowski added, that limit didn't apply to uniformed staff members such as Lovullo, who would be leaving for a promotion.


Red Sox promote Eddie Romero assistant general manager, won't hire GM to replace Hazen


Red Sox promote Eddie Romero assistant general manager, won't hire GM to replace Hazen

The Red Sox on Tuesday named Eddie Romero senior vice president and assistant general manager. In a press release announcing the move, the team stated it will not fill the position of general manager for the time being. 

Romero’s promotion comes following the departure of general manager Mike Hazen, who left this month to become Arizona’ GM. Hazel brought Amiel Sawdaye, who had served as Boston’s vice president of international and amateur scouting, with him to the Diamondbacks, with Sawdaye serving as an assistant GM for Arizona. 

The 37-year-old Romero is the son of former Red Sox infielder Ed Romero Rr. Romero served last season as Boston’s vice president of international scouting, overseeing amateur scouting in Latin America, the Pacific Rim and Europe. 

Romero is in his 11th season with the Red Sox, having previously worked in international and professional scouting for the team and becoming Boston’s director of international scouting in 2012.