Three things we learned about the Red Sox on Thursday

Three things we learned about the Red Sox on Thursday
August 8, 2014, 10:30 am
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ST. LOUIS -- Three things we learned about the Red Sox' 5-2 loss to the Cardinals on Thursday night:


1) The Deadline Day trades haven't made the offense any better -- yet.

Part of the goal in making the trades the Red Sox made eight days ago was to improve an offense that was ranked first in the game last season,  only to be ranked in the bottom three this year.

The Sox obtained Allen Craig and Yoenis Cespedes in separate deals, believing that putting them in the middle of the order with David Ortiz and Mike Napoli would give the Sox a formidable quarter that opponents couldn't pitch around.

Of course, that plan was sidetracked when Craig re-injured his left foot after just four at-bats in his first game and hasn't played since.

Meanwhile. Cespedes hasn't had much of an impact yet. He had a three-hit game Wednesday, but he's yet to flash his vaunted power.

And, naturally, Cespedes and Craig have yet to appear in a game together, and won't now for another few weeks while Craig serves out his DL stint.

But even adding one bat such as Cespedes should have impacted the lineup at least somewhat. It hasn't. In dropping two of three to the Cardinals, the Red Sox scored a grand total of six runs -- two in each of the game.

They were doing that in April, May, June and July, too. And now that we're in August, with the lineup reshuffled, it's still happening.

It doesn't help that the three games forced the Sox to choose between Napoli and Ortiz, thanks to the absence of the DH. And the chasm in the bottom third of the order continues to exist, with Jackie Bradley Jr.'s hitless streak now stretched to 27 at-bats.

Still, a little improvement would have been nice. To date, there's been none.


2) Craig Breslow's time may be running out with the Red Sox.

Breslow was a valuable reliever for last year's Red Sox, able to get out both lefties and righties. He was terrific in the first round of the postseason, too, before hitting something of a wall in the ALCS and World Series.

More recently, Breslow has given up home runs in each of his last three appearances. Two of those came to left-handed batters not exactly known for their power -- Kolten Wong Thursday night and Brett Gardner over the weekend.

The Sox might have been expected to field offers for Breslow at the deadline, since relievers are always a commodity, and lefty relievers especially so. But while teams were climbing over one another to get Andrew Miller -- traded to the Baltimore -- there was little activity on Breslow.

That speaks volumes on what other teams are seeing with Breslow, who now sports a 5.01 ERA.

It's still possible, theoretically, that he could be moved in a waiver deal sometime this month. But if the Sox can't get anything for him, it also wouldn't be a terrible surprise to see him get designated.

The Sox hold a $4 million option on Breslow for 2015 that they obviously have no intent of picking up and the next seven weeks might be better spent looking at a youger arm rather than trotting out a 34-year-old reliever who isn't part of their long-term plans.

 

3) Christian Vazquez has more than powerful arm as part of his skill-set

Vazquez knocked in one of the two Red Sox runs with an RBI single in the second inning Tuesday night, giving him 11 RBI in 16 starts.

With runners in scoring position, Vazquez is 8-for-18 (.444) and he's shown a knack for getting runners in from third base, as he did Tuesday night with a sacrifice fly.

Before the game Thursday, John Farrell spoke glowingly about Vazquez's instincts and general baseball acumen.

It's impressive enough that, as a rookie with less a few weeks worth of experience, he's leading a staff mixed with veterans and rookies. He calls his own games and has showed himself to be proficient in framing pitches to steal strikes for his batterymates.

But the offensive contributions have been a nice bonus, too, especially for a lineup that will take any help it can get.