Every time the Red Sox have some trouble scoring runs, the questions come out. No matter how many runs they score the game before, or how many runs they’ve scored over the season. Whenever a game like Monday’s comes around, when they get a great pitching performance in a loss, there are questions.
And, I get that. It’s frustrating. Chris Sale was brilliant. He was everything we hoped he would be, and a couple things we didn’t dare hope we would be. But, he lost the game 2-1, to drop his record on the season to 0-1. That’s not how it’s supposed to go. Thankfully, in this case, there was a very simple answer to the question. Where was the offense?
Unfortunately for the Red Sox, while the Red Sox were trying to battle Justin Verlander in Detroit, Hanley Ramirez was in Boston sick. Xander Bogaerts was in Boston after his flight from Aruba was cancelled following bereavement leave. Those are your #4 and #6 hitters from Opening Day. Jackie Bradley Jr was out, and on the DL. There’s, now, a third of your preferred line-up sitting this one out. That would be enough to make a dent in any team’s offensive output.
But, it got worse. Mookie Betts was in his second game back following a bout with the flu. Think he was 100%? I doubt it. Andrew Benintendi didn’t miss any time after losing his lunch mid-game a couple games ago. But, I’m guessing he wasn’t in top form either. So, if you’re scoring at home…from your Opening Day line-up, the #2 and #3 hitters were less than 100%, the #4, #6, and #7 hitters were missing.
I’m amazed they managed to score one run. On the road. Against Justin Verlander.
Because, while I always agreed with Jimy Williams that his team was “all major leaguers” I always disagreed with the idea that this made them interchangeable. If you’re missing more than half of your expected line-up, there’s really not a lot you’re going to be able to do about it.
And, the Red Sox certainly suggested that was exactly the case. Once they added Xander and Hanley back in, and got the others another day healthier, the bats “suddenly” showed up. They scored a bunch of runs, and took advantage of opportunities. While in Detroit, the Sox couldn’t really take advantage of a fluke bases loaded situation, last night the Sox made the Orioles pay for every mistake. They showed everything we expected to see at the beginning of the season.
So, I think you really need to give the Sox a pass for the entire Detroit series. Honestly, going into the series, a split on the road is a decent goal. Winning one game instead of two wasn’t really that terrible of a performance. Especially when Verlander is pitching one of the games. In Detroit.
While your offense was in Boston.