What’s causing the Red Sox collapse?

What’s causing the Red Sox collapse?

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Red Sox Collapse

What’s causing the Red Sox collapse?

What’s causing the Red Sox collapse?

Remember when the Red Sox started the year 2-10? They had a disastrous start to the year in which they lost their first six games of the season.  Everyone jumped on the Red Sox.  The off-season champions were looking like anything but.  Everyday it was a new stat – it usually it started with “no AL team has ever gone 0-(blank) and …”.  That seems like years ago, huh?

Now the Sox are at it again.

Jacoby EllsburyAfter dominating the middle part of the season, they are back to their season starting form.   They have dropped 5 games in a row while the Rays have won 4 straight.  Now there is only a 3.5 games between the two teams with a 4-game series later this week.

There are many factors that add into this collapse - The easy one to point to is injuries.  Youkilis is banged up, and Drew has been out for a while.  I’m taking a major leap in assuming that Drew being out is a bad thing.  The Buchholz injury was a huge loss but the Red Sox had all year, including the trade deadline to deal with it.  Dice-k going down has also thinned the staff. That’s 40% of the starting rotation out for the year. Beckett is hurt, and Jenks is done for the year.  How much depth can one team really have?

John LackeyWith all of those injuries some big contacts need to step up.  It's more than just injuries, it's under performance.  The main focus in that area should be John Lackey.  He’s possibly having the worst season for a pitcher in a long time - maybe ever?  Lackey gets paid like he’s one of the better starters in baseball, however the numbers aren’t even good enough to be in the league.  His ERA is 6.30, average is 3.04, and his WHIP is 1.59.  1.59! That’s closer to 2 base runners an inning than 1. As much as everyone complained about watching Dice-K nibble his way through 5 innings, I bet you most fans would trade Lackey for Matsuzaka in a second. 

With Lackey pitching like this, the only major league caliber starter that Boston is throwing out is Jon Lester.  Besides Lester, the sox have Lackey, Miller, Wakefield and Weiland.  With pitching like that, the Red Sox line-up needs to put up big numbers - here’s the problem, that’s not happening.

Over the past 30 games, the offense has sputtered.  

Kevin YoukilisIt was not too long ago that Pedroia and Youkilis were MVP candidates.  In the last month Youkilis is hitting .194 with 1 home run and 4 RBI.  He only has 7 hits in the 10 games he has played in this injury-riddled month.  In the same time span Pedroia is hitting .237 with 3 home runs and 17 RBI. Lowrie, Varitek, Crawford, and Saltalamacchia are all important players in this lineup who are all hitting .231 or below in the last month.  Only 4 players hit above .300 in the last month and one of those was Aviles who only had 45 at bats.  How long can this team succeed with Marco Scutaro leading the team in RBI for a month?  For the most part, he has bat at the bottom of the line-up all year.  And to put those numbers in perspective, the team as a whole has batted .279 for the entire year.

Are they just a streaky team?  

Do they build off each other’s success? That could be the case given the huge runs that they’ve go on.  This season in Boston has been a roller coaster ride.  The Red Sox should make the playoffs, and if they do, and get any of their players at their expected level, they could get hot and win it all.  However, they can’t expect to keep ground above the Rays if Kyle Weiland is taking the mound every fifth day in a pennant race.  On the bright side, they don’t need to rely on Tony Romo.

By Mike Lavery
Monday, 12 Sep 2011

Andrew Miller, Bobby Jenks, Boston Red Sox, Carl Crawford, Clay Buchholz, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Dustin Pedroia, J.D. Drew, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jason Varitek, Jed Lowrie, John Lackey, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Kevin Youkilis, Kyle Weiland, Marco Scutaro, Mike Aviles, Tampa Bay Rays, Tim Wakefield


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