As a group, the Boston infield has struggled to clear outfield fences this season. Kevin Millar (4), Mark Bellhorn (7), Edgar Renteria (6) and Bill Mueller (5) have combined for eight fewer home runs than Manny Ramirez's 30 blasts.
The starting infield has produced only 150 RBI in total this year, and the additions of Alex Cora and Tony Graffanino haven't made much of a difference in those numbers. The pair have combined for a total of 5HR and 30 RBI between them.
This lack of infield production makes it all the more amazing that the Sox lead the league in runs, RBI (tied w/ Texas), and are fifth in homers. The Sox are also first in hits, doubles, batting, and on base percentage, third in total bases, and fourth in sluging percentage.
If every infielder was simply having a decent year, then each would be expected to drive in about 75 runs by seaon's end. Since the team is exactly two thirds of the way through this year's campaign, each should have about 50 RBI at at this juncture. Yet, Mueller leads all Sox infielders with 44 RBI.
Almost the enitire infield is hitting below their career averages in homers and RBI. Just two years ago, the year he won the batting title, Bill Mueller hit 19 homers while driving in 85 runs. Prior to this year, Kevin Millar had a career average of 17 home runs per season and had knocked in an average of 85 RBI over the last two seasons. Renteria will almost surely finish below the 75 RBI and 12 HR that he's averaged over the course of the past six years. Belhorn belted 27 homers for the Cubs in 2002 and and drove home 82 runs for the Sox last season. The four of them are simultaneously having an off year, and yet the team is still producing offense at an incredible pace. That is a testament to the phenomenal output of the rest of the squad. Just imagine the production if everyone in the infield was simply having an average year.
Copyright © 2005 Kennedy's Commentary. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the author's consent.