Bats carry Sox to fourth straight win

733754.jpg

Bats carry Sox to fourth straight win

CHICAGO - A four-game road winning streak at their backs, the Red Sox are bashing teams into submission of late.
The Sox erupted for 10 runs Thursday night in the first game of a four-game series against the Chicago White Sox and have scored 34 runs in the last four games, an average of 8.5 runs per contest.
What's more, the Red Sox are scoring early. They've scored first in all four games on the trip, and in three of the games, they've scored in the first inning.
Thursday, en route to a 10-3 win, the Sox had a 7-1 lead by the third inning. The long ball accounted for seven of the 10 runs they scored.
What's more, they're getting contributions from two players -- Kevin Youkilis and Jarrod Saltalamacchia -- who weren't providing much at the plate through the first two or so weeks of the season.
Youkilis had a three-hit night, featuring the second grand slam of his career. Over the four games on the trip, he has six hits.
"I'm having better at-bats and doing little things here and there,'' said Youkilis. "I always look at it like it's a long season and you're going to go through stuff. Hopefully, the bad at-bats are a thing of the past and I can keep making strides going forward.''
Bobby Valentine, who was critical of Youkilis's performance two weeks ago, said it was a good sign that Youkilis's grand slam in the third went to the opposite field, a sign, the manager said, that he's starting to get locked in at the plate.
"Anytime I hit a home run is a good sign,'' said Youkilis. "I don't know if it's 'oppo,' or left field -- just taking goodswings and having good at-bats is the key to success. If you have good at-bats as many times as you can, good things will happen. Hitting to right field, left-center... I don't think that's a big deal as much as having great at-bats and putting them together.''
Saltalamacchia, who was hitting under .100 on the last homestand, hit two homers Thursday, giving him three in his last three games.
Over his last five games, the catcher is hitting .476 with two doubles, three homers and seven RBI over his last five games while lifting his average to a more respectable .261.
"Right now,'' said Saltalamacchia, "I'm just trying to put good wood on the ball and stay consistent with my approach. I feel good at the plate. My main focus is obviously trying to work with the pitchers and get us through the games. Those guys are working so hard that I want to be able to help them out as much as I can behind the plate and whatever I can do offensively helps.''

Biggest Red Sox busts in recent memory

red-sox-rusney-castillo-022417x.jpg

Biggest Red Sox busts in recent memory

Click here for the complete gallery.

 

Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

The Red Sox signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract bn August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:

“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”

Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.

That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.