Run prevention, anyone?
The Red Sox began a stretch of six more games against the dregs of the American League last night at Toronto.
But if the previous week taught us anything, it’s that — despite a 4-2 mark against the Rangers and Orioles — it’s becoming increasingly difficult, from a run-scoring standpoint, to differentiate the Sox from their weaker sisters.
To a man — player and coach alike — the Sox will tell you winning a three- or four-game series is the primary goal. That’s just what Boston accomplished against Texas and Baltimore, inching closer to .500 after losing four of its first five series.
But over those six games, the Sox scored the exact same number of runs as their bottom-feeding opponents: 32. The Orioles entered the weekend series with Boston having scored 46 runs in their first 16 games (2.9 per game), yet tagged the Sox for 16 runs in the three-game series (5.3).
The gaudy total left Boston with an infamous distinction: 19 games into the season, the team built on the premise of run-prevention has allowed 101 runs, second-most in the American League. Because of that, the Red Sox find themselves in danger of finishing below .500 in April for the first time since 1996.
“It’s been a disappointing stretch of play,” Theo Epstein said last week. “A lot of teams go through it, but it’s uncharacteristic for us for April. We tend to get off to better starts.”