Walk this wayConspiracies don't bother Bill Do Pats fans deserve an explanation?

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Walk this wayConspiracies don't bother Bill Do Pats fans deserve an explanation?

This just in: The Red Sox have a discipline problem.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. But I'm not talking about in the clubhouse, on the team plane, on the golf course or with the media. I'm talking in the batter's box here. I'm talking walks and on base percentage. The kind of stuff that makes Bill James feel all naughty and tingly inside.

Discipline at the plate.

At various points this season, Bobby Valentine, Ben Cherington and Dave Magadan have all occasionally voiced their displeasure with the Sox impatience in the box.

"Hughes pitched up in the strike zone, and we couldn't lay off of it," Valentine said after a loss to the Yankees last week. "We made a lot of quick outs, swinging at some of those pitches. And, maybe a little immature in our approach at times."

"There's a lot of inconsistency," Magadan said last month. "A lot of it -- and I know I've harped on this a lot this year -- is the approach at the plate. You're not going to bang out 15 hits every night. You've got to find ways to get on base, work a count, get a guy's pitch count up."

In an interview with WEEI after the Adrian Gonzalez trade, Cherington touched on the same issues: "Our best teams have been disciplined teams," he said. "We've grinded at-bats, we've made pitchers work, we've thrown strikes, we've played good fundamental baseball"

Speaking of grinding, the 2012 season is thankfully and finally grinding to halt, and with that the Sox historic impatience is now more clear than ever.

First of all, David Ortiz is pretty much guaranteed to end the season as Boston's team leader in walks with 56. This, despite having only played 90 games and sitting out the last two months of the season.

The last time a Sox player led the team with fewer than 56 walks? That would be 1930, when infielder Bobby Reeves was the leader with 50. (They had a player with more than 56 walks in the both the strike shortened seasons of 1981 and 1994).

But maybe that stat is a little skewed. After all, Boston did suffer an astounding number of injuries this season. They have a ton of guys who have missed a ton of games, which might explain why the individual totals are so sad. But that being said, their team total is just as horrendous.

As of today, the Sox have drawn a total of 400 walks through 149 games. That puts them on pace for 435 walks on the season. And that would be their lowest total since 1931 back in the days little Bobby Reeves was king.

So, there you have it. That's not to say that finding guys who are willing and able to grind out at-bats and get on base is the No. 1 priority for the Sox this offseason, but you can be damn sure it's on the list.

Here's hoping Ben come through, and Bill James can once again watch the Sox with that same naughty tingle.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Monday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Sox hope to extend Tampa Bay's misery

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Monday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Sox hope to extend Tampa Bay's misery

The Red Sox may be stumbling through the month of June, but they're flying high compared to their opponent tonight.

The Sox are in St. Petersburg, Fla., to take on the free-falling Rays, losers of 11 straight. They'll be sending Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound in hopes of continuing Tampa Bay's misery, at least for the next three games.

The lineups:

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Bryce Brentz LF
Sandy Leon C
Marco Hernandez 3B
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Eduardo Rodriguez P

RAYS
Logan Forsythe 2B
Tim Beckham SS
Evan Longoria 3B
Logan Morrison 1B
Desmond Jennings CF
Oswaldo Arcia RF
Taylor Motter LF
Nick Franklin DH
Curt Casali C
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Blake Snell P

Red Sox recall infielder Mike Miller, ship Cuevas back to PawSox

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Red Sox recall infielder Mike Miller, ship Cuevas back to PawSox

The Red Sox made another pitcher-for-infielder roster swap today, sending William Cuevas back to Pawtucket and bringing up Mike Miller as his replacement.

The Sox had summoned Cuevas from the PawSox over the weekend when they ran through their bullpen in Friday night's come-from-behind victory over Texas and he pitched twice against the Rangers, holding them to two hits over 2 2/3 scoreless innings on Saturday and Sunday. Deven Marrero had been shipped out when Cuevas arrived, leaving the Sox with only one backup infielder (Marco Hernandez).

Now they have two again, with Miller making his first trip to the major leagues. He's been primarily a second baseman for Pawtucket, though he's also seen action at short and third. Miller -- the team's ninth-round selection in the 2012 draft -- had a combined .251 average in 46 games for the PawSox and six games for Double-A Portland.

However, his stay with the Red Sox will likely be as short as Cuevas'. Brock Holt may soon be ready for reactivation, after having missed more than a month because of a concussion, and he could take Miller's roster spot when he returns.

Bogaerts taking aim at Red Sox and MLB hits records

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Bogaerts taking aim at Red Sox and MLB hits records

A change of scenery is a must for the Red Sox after the rough series in Texas, where they were lucky to walk away with one win.

The pitching staff's struggles were the most apparent, but Xander Bogaerts had arguably his worst series of the season -- 2-for-12 at the plate and two errors in the field.

Although Bogaerts now finds himself three points behind José Altuve (.347) for the American League batting lead, he still leads the major leagues with 108 hits. He has more hits than Daniel Murphy, who’s at .349 in the National League.

And despite his weekend struggles, the Boston shortstop is in position to make a run at history  -- the single-season hits record.

Bogaerts is already in a comfortable spot to break Wade Boggs’ Red Sox record of 240 hits, set in 1985. Through 74 games, Bogaerts has 10 more hits than the Hall-of-Famer had at that point in the season.

He's also ahead of the pace set in 2004 by Ichiro Suzuki, who established the MLB record for most hits in a season with 262 that year. Bogarts has five more hits than Ichiro had through 74 games.

There's no guarantee he'll reach 262, or anything close. Ichiro had a strong finishing kick in '04, batting .418 with 159 hits after his 74th game. In fact, in his final 74 games, he hit .433 with 141 hits. He's left challengers in the dust before: Altuve was equal to Ichiro's pace in 2014 -- both had 105 hits in their first 76 games -- but wound up with "only" 225 hits.

So, admittedly, Bogaerts is facing an uphill battle.

He does have a one advantage over Ichiro, though. In 2004, Suzuki -- still playing for the Mariners -- usually had Randy Winn hitting behind him. Although Winn was a respectable player, he doesn’t command the respect of the hitter who's usually behind Bogaerts: David Ortiz.

Opposing pitchers still don’t plan to attack Bogaerts, but it’d only be worse if pretty much anyone other than Ortiz was coming up next.

And there’s one last set of statistics to consider:

Suzuki finished 2004 with 80 games in which he had at least two hits. That’s 49.7 percent of the games he played in.

Bogaerts has done that 33 times -- 44.6 percent of his games. So he needs to string together some big games if he intends to make an improbable run at the 12-year-old record.

Improbable, yes.

But definitely not impossible.