Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Red Sox Desperately Need a Shakeup



Mike Napoli says the Red Sox offensive woes this season are the result of being a very different lineup from last season.

"I mean we're not the same team as last year. We're different. We're just not the same," said the Red Sox first baseman. "Everyone keeps on comparing us to last year, but it's different guys in here. We've just got to figure it out."

However, in large part, the Sox are indeed the same team as last year's World Series winners — on paper at least.

Let's go around the diamond:

David Ortiz is back at DH.
David Ross is back at catcher, albeit in a backup role.
Napoli is back at first base.
Dustin Pedroia is back at second base.
Stephen Drew is back at shortstop.
Johnny Gomes is back in left field.
Daniel Nava is back in left and right fields.

The Sox lost Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia to free agency, and Shane Victorino to the DL. But seven primary members of last year's lineup are still in place.

The Red Sox' problem is not the loss of Ellsbury and Salty; it's the abysmal performances of the guys that are still in the Sox lineup this season.

The Red Sox will be exactly halfway through the season after tonight's game, and most of the lineup's batting statistics are downright pathetic.

Just look at the numbers:

Napoli has just 9 homers, 11 doubles and 30 RBI.

Pedroia has 4 homers, 27 RBI and a slash line of .262/.334/.372.

Xander Bogaerts has 6 home runs, 19 RBI and a slash line of .254 /.334/.384.

Though David Ortiz has been the lineup's best run producer, with 19 home runs and 49 RBI, he has a slash line of .254/.355/.479, The former and the latter are well below his career averages.

A.J. Pierzynski has just 15 extra-base hits, to go along with a slash line of .250/.279/.353.

Jonny Gomes has just 11 extra-base hits and a slash line of .235/.335/.361.

Daniel Nava has just seven extra-base hits, five RBI and a slash line of .223/.313/.308.

Jackie Bradley Jr. has 17 extra-base hits and a slash line of .209/.289/.298.

David Ross has eight extra-base hits, five RBI and a slash line of .174/.237/.337.

The above numbers look like the stats of A-ball hitters trying to play in the majors.

Brock Holt, a minor league player that most fans were hardly familiar with prior to this season, is the team's best hitter.

The Sox rank 26th in the majors in scoring. Their .367 slugging mark is the worst in the AL, and is 28th in the majors.

Napoli (and perhaps some of his teammates as well) is in denial. The Red Sox problems have nothing to do with the guys that are no longer with the team and everything to do with the ones that still are.

To be clear, the Red Sox have just three players slugging over .400, which speaks volumes about how pathetic this lineup is.

We're halfway through the season, and just one Sox hitter has more than nine home runs.

Just two Red Sox hitters are batting above .262.

Need I say more?

Last year, almost every hitter in the lineup had a career year. Success bred more success. It became contagious.

This year, failure and ineptitude have bred more of the same. They have spread like viruses through the Sox lineup.

The Red Sox have been stricken by apathy and complacency. This team needs a trade to break the spell of listlessness that afflicts them.

It may be too late to make a playoff push, but, at the least, upper management should allow John Farrell to field a team each night that possesses some passion, fire and competency.

The current lineup is an embarrassment to this great franchise. Surely, the Red Sox' dedicated fans deserve a team worth rooting for down the stretch — even if it is playing for nothing more than self-respect and genuine competitiveness.

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