Inconsistencies plague Sox offense

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Inconsistencies plague Sox offense

CHICAGO -- To look at some of the numbers, the Red Sox' offense has been plenty good enough.

Entering Friday's action, the Red Sox were second only to Texas in runs scored among American League teams. What's more, they lead all of baseball in extra-base hits and were tied for third in doubles.

But Boston's offense has also been ridiculously inconsistent. When they're not scoring in double figures -- as they've done 10 times, as much as any team in either league -- they seem to be in danger of scoring just a couple.

Or, like Friday, none at all.

The Sox were shut out for the third time this season Friday. They had chances right from the beginning when the first two hitters of the game -- Scott Podsednik and Dustin Pedroia -- reached base. But despite the first-and-second, no-out opportunity, the Sox couldn't score.

They put the leadoff man on base in three of the first five innings, but came up empty.

In his final three at-bats, Dustin Pedroia came up with four runners in scoring position -- and six baserunners overall -- and made the final out each time.

The frustration took its toll on Pedroia in the seventh when his opposite-field liner toward the right field line was hauled in by Cubs outfielder David DeJesus, leaving the bases full of Red Sox teammates. Enraged, Pedroia slammed his helmet with both hands into the ground down the first base line.

"We hit some balls good, man. We just hit it right to 'em,'' said Pedroia. "We're not trying to be (lousy); everyone's trying, man. We're not playing good. Today we didn't play good. We scored no runs. You can't win a game if you score zero runs.''

The inability to score much has haunted the Red Sox of late. Friday marked the seventh time in the last 11 games in which they scored three runs or fewer. Unsurprisingly, they're just 1-6 in those seven games.

"We had some balls hit hard,'' lamented Kevin Youkilis. "It just stunk. It really did. (The scoreboard didn't reflect) how we swung the bats. We swung the bats pretty good. It's just, man, we couldn't get anything to fall.''

In addition to hard-hit balls by Pedroia to right which were caught by DeJesus, Jarrod Saltalamacchia sent Alfonso Soriano to the warning track in left with a runner on and one out in the fifth before Soriano made a catch with his back against the ivy-covered wall.

Youkilis himself is in a 3-for-30 funk since the start of the last homestand, dropping his average to .212 for the season.

"They said it evens out, so if it evens out, I'm in good shape,'' said Youkilis. "Today was frustrating. Every at-bat was great and I didn't have anything to show for it. It's discouraging. It's good to drive the ball, but nothing fell in.''

The Sox have run into top starters in the past week, including Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and, Friday, Ryan Dempster.

But Youkilis doesn't want to use that as an excuse for the team's offensive failings.

"You can always say it's good pitching,'' he said, "but as a hitter, you have to go out there and hit. They always say good pitching will beat good hitting. But this team has great hitting and it's not getting the job done. And it's frustrating.''

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Never say never?

While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.

CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season. 

For the full interview with Martinez, click here.

Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired. 

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.

Chris Sale.

The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.

But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.

“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.

“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”

He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.

He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.

But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.

“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”