Where do the Red Sox’ problems lie?
Well, lots of places, but when narrowing it down it comes back to one thing – the veterans not performing.
It starts with Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, the two players the Red Sox organization invested the most into this offseason, with both players’ contracts totaling $183 million.
The pair have been a mess at the plate since April and it’s been a struggle defensively, especially for Ramirez in left field, who has had issues all season. For Sandoval his issues have came of late, but his errors at third base have cost the Red Sox two games last week – Sunday at Texas and Thursday at home against the Twins.
David Ortiz has also been a major disappointment, as going into play Saturday he was batting just .220 with 19 RBI. His biggest issue at the plate seems to be he isn’t using all fields like he does when he’s at his best, especially with the Green Monster in left field at Fenway Park. The Red Sox need his production, as they are 5-1 when he hits a home run this season.
Another disappointment has been first baseman Mike Napoli. In a contract year, many expected a big season from Napoli, but he’s had a rough go of it at the plate. It wasn’t until just under two weeks ago that he got his batting average above .200 for the first time all season.
The only veteran on the team performing has been Dustin Pedroia, who has at times has needed to will the team to get up for games, his passion for the game very apparent.
The Red Sox couldn’t have asked much more from their younger players, as Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts (although he’s had his struggles of late) and Blake Swihart have all performed quite well.
Bogaerts, especially has looked more confident than ever both at shortstop and at the plate. In his second full season in the majors he’s taking much more control in the field and swinging a hot bat.
Betts has had some tough luck, with a lot of hard hit balls hit right at defenders, but overall, the organization couldn’t have asked for much more, and the same goes for Swihart since coming up in mid-May after Ryan Hanigan went down with a broken finger, especially with how he’s handled the staff being thrown into the fire.
Because of such a weak AL East division, even with their record the Red Sox are far from out of anything, but they need to change their ways soon. And it all starts with the veterans, the guys the organization has put the most money into need to start earning their paychecks, because right now it’s been a major failure.