Offensive outage continues to plague Sox

809880.jpg

Offensive outage continues to plague Sox

BOSTON The Red Sox have scored in just one inning in each of the three contests. Thanks to Cody Ross three-run walk-off home run Thursday night, they have been able to salvage one win in that span.

But they cant hope to be successful for long with that kind of approach. It showed Saturday night, as they lost to the Blue Jays, 7-3, for the second straight game.

The Sox scored in only the second inning, on Jarrod Saltalamacchias three-run homer into the visitors bullpen in right field. After that, the Sox could muster just two hits over the remaining seven innings a Pedro Ciriaco bunt in the fifth, and a Dustin Pedroia single to right in the eighth.

Yeah, we got to add on, thats for sure, said manager Bobby Valentine. We have to put some stuff together. But its a little different mix of guys that go out there and maybe will start getting used to each other.

On Friday, the Sox scored their lone run in the ninth inning, en route to a 6-1 loss. The dearth of production over the three games coincides, somewhat, with David Ortiz absence from the lineup. Ortiz suffered a strained Achilles tendon in his right foot rounding the bases on Adrian Gonzalez eighth-inning home run Monday night.

Well, every team misses an Ortiz, Valentine said. But we can win without David.

The Sox are 2-3 in Ortizs absence. The two wins came against the White Sox, a 10-1 thumping on Wednesday, and Thursdays 3-1 walk-off.

"Especially in our division, teams keep coming after you and coming after you, said Pedroia, who went 1-for-4 Saturday. We need to try to separate ourselves. There's nothing wrong with getting a five, six-run lead. Other than the White Sox game where we scored a bunch, it's been close. We need to make sure we have better at-bats and try to pull away.

"We feel like we have a great team. We just need to be more consistent, be consistent offensively, pitching, running the bases, playing good D. If we do everything better, we're going to run off a lot more than five or six in a row so. We need to do that."

Perhaps, as Valentine mentioned, it is because of the continuously different mix of players on the field and the various lineups. Saturday, both Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Aviles were on the bench. Ellsbury for medical reasons, after missing 79 games on the DL with a subluxation of his right shoulder. Aviles because he has turf toe. In Ellsburys place, Daniel Nava, who has been struggling at the plate lately (with just two hits in last 26 at-bats), batted lead-off. Nava went 0-for-3.

Consistent playing time is obviously better, said Saltalamacchia, who sat out the previous three game and whose second-inning home run snapped an 0-for-14 slide. It helps you. Your timings better. But I think those guys that have been coming off the DL, like Ellsbury and Carl Crawford have been doing a great job. For the guys that arent getting as much playing time, yeah, its a little tougher. But at the same time, we just got to go out there and take it pitch to pitch. Not do too much.

Saltalamacchia said he is not concerned the team has only been able to muster runs in one inning over the last three games.

Im not concerned with it one bit, he said. Just got to continue to go out. We got to go out there and we got to get some pitches to hit. Do a better job at it.

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

world_series_francona_epstein_102416.png

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”