Red Sox offense turning things around in second half

Red Sox offense turning things around in second half
July 21, 2014, 11:30 pm
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TORONTO -- For more than three months, they seemed to strand baserunners by the boatload. In the first half, they scored two runs or fewer on 28 occasions, which would seem statistically impossible.

But in the final week of the first half, and especially in the first five games since the All-Star break, it's as though a switch has been flipped for the Red Sox offense.

After scoring five runs or more twice in the first three games, the Red Sox exploded for a season-high output Monday night in their 14-1 pasting of the Toronto Blue Jays.

The win features a season-high 18 hits, including four homers. In short, for the first time all year, the Red Sox offense is as good as many expected it to be.

"I thought we had a very good offensive approach, up and down the lineup tonight,'' said John Farrell.

Indeed, every starter except Dustin Pedroia had at least one hit and seven players had multi-hit games, with Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava and Xander Bogaerts each collecting three hits each.

It was a trend that began in Houston, when the Red Sox scored 18 runs in three games and has continued to grow.

"We've been getting a good offensive approach the last 10 games or so,'' said Farrell. "There's been good energy throughout and when you've got David (Ortiz, two homers) doing what he's capable of doing tonight, it really becomes the hub of what our offense and it's good to see the contributions up and down the lineup.''

There have been turnarounds from a number of players. Jackie Bradley Jr. who had two hits, is up to .235, the highest his average has been since April. Xander Bogaerts, who has struggled since the second week of June, had his first three-hit game since May 31. And Stephen Drew, who was 5-for-12 coming into the road trip opener, had a three-run homer and four RBI.

"You could see it coming,'' said Farrell of Drew. "We all know he jumped in mid-stream. Basically, his first 60 at-bats were his spring training and you
see it coming along. The timing has been better. You could see it little-by-little,

In the clubhouse, the players mostly shrugged off the explosion. This kind of production doesn't surprise them.

'"We know we can score runs,'' said Mike Napoli, who fell a triple shy of the cycle. "Not 14 runs a night, but we believe we're capable of scoring some runs. It was a nice night for us.''

Napoli is part of the heart of the order, but Monday night, the length of the lineup was evident, too, with six hits and four RBI from the final three hitters in the batting order.

"Those guys are swinging it,'' said Napoli. "We're going to need them to do some things for us to go forward. They've been doing a great job. We're going to need everybody on this team. Our pitching staff has been doing a great job and now we're starting to score some runs.''

In addition to execution, the manager believes attitude is playing an equally important role in the recent upsurge.

"Guys are playing loose,'' concluded Farrell. "Guys are playing confident and we're playing to the capability, over this stretch, that we felt should have been
the case all year.''