Even with how successful the Red Sox have been to this point in the season, there still are a few concerns, mostly about pitching, particularly in the bullpen with all the injuries they’ve endured. What has gone relatively unnoticed is that the Red Sox offense is starting to struggle, particularly against good teams.
At the start of the week the Red Sox led all of MLB in runs per game at 5.12, but looking further into things they have done the majority of that damage against teams below .500.
As of Tuesday, against teams with sub-.500 records, the Red Sox have averaged 5.87 runs per game, this compared to just 4.18 runs per game against teams over .500 – close to a two-run difference.
Their performances against good teams have gotten worse of late as in the month of July against teams over .500 they have only scored more than four runs once and average just 2.86 runs a game. Overall, they’ve been shutout three times in their last 12 games, which is definitely trending in the wrong direction.
The lack of runs of late can be attributed to several slumps by players, one being Dustin Pedroia. In the month of July the second baseman is hitting .243, almost 50 points below his previous month low of .292 in June. The same can be said for Jarrod Saltalamacchia as he hit .282 and .271 in May and June respectively, but is hitting just .233 with no home runs in July.
Finally, the biggest drop-off comes off the bat of Jose Iglesias who after his unbelievable start of hitting .438 through his first 32 games with the big league club, has come back to earth. This month the 23-year-old is hitting just .226, a full 169 points less than he hit in June.
Fortunately for the Red Sox, their starting rotation has made up for the lack of offensive production as Sox starters have allowed three earned runs or less in 15 of the club’s last 19 games.
As the month of July comes to a close, and the playoff races start to become more intense, the Sox need their bats to come alive like they did for the majority of the first half of the season as they cannot rely on their starters to pitch as well as they have and bail them out against good teams night after night.
Follow Red Sox beat writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @hannable84