Red Sox mystified about offensive struggles

Red Sox mystified about offensive struggles
June 27, 2014, 11:30 pm
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(AP Photo)

NEW YORK -- If ever the conditions had been right for the Red Sox to break out of their seemingly season-long funk, Friday night was it.   

The Red Sox were coming off a better night at the plate Wednesday when they scored five runs -- a relative outburst for them - and they were facing struggling New York Yankees lefty Vidal Nuno in the series opener at Yankee Stadium.   

"We felt like, coming into this ballgame, we had a chance to do something against their starter,'' said John Farrell of Nuno.   

It may have looked like that on paper. But it didn't play out that way. Instead, Nuno, who hadn't won since May 7 and had given up 13 runs in his two most recent starts, shut them out, over 5 2/3 innings, allowing just two hits and three Yankees relievers combined for 3 1/3 innings of one-hit scoreless relief.    

The Sox put the leadoff man on in the first and second innings and got a one-out double from Brock Holt in the third. Each time, however, the opportunity fizzled out.    

"In a couple of situations, where we had men in scoring position,'' said Farrell, "again, the base hit was elusive.''    

The only three hits for the Sox were a leadoff single by Jonny Gomes in the second, Brock's double in the third, and against reliever Dellin Betances, a two-out double from Stephen Drew in the seventh.    

That double snapped a lengthy 0-for-29 hitless skid for Drew and stood as the offensive high point of the game.     

It was that kind of night.    

"You guys have seen it sometimes where I hit balls right at people,'' said Drew, "and you can't do nothing about it. I try not to get too high, or too low. I take it as a positive and move forward from there. I've had some really good at-bats and some not so good. I'm just trying to get acclimated and get myself going. It's coming along.''    

Meanwhile, Drew is as mystified as anyone as to why the team as a whole has underperformed offensively.    

"Hopefully, one thing will click for us and get this thing rolling,'' said Drew. "It's very frustrating. We need some timely hitting and to get some guys on (base). You look back at last year and everything was clicking on all cylinders.    

"We're trying to do that as a team and get this thing going.''    

"We're not coming out here, trying to play like this,'' emphasized Mike Napoli, who was 0-for-3 with three stirkeouts and a walk. "We've just got to get it going on the offensive side.''    

Reminded that Nuno hadn't pitched well of late and hadn't won in seven weeks, Napoli maintained that the identity of the pitcher is irrelevant to the Sox. Results aside, the Sox expect more of themselves, regardless of who they're facing.    

"It's like that every night,'' said Napoli. "We've got the confidence we're going to go out there and bust out. It doesn't matter who's pitching. We're going to come out here (Saturday) and face (Masahiro) Tanaka and expect to win. It doesn't change. We're all grinding. We've just got to get it done.''