As one of the few fans of softball in the United Kingdom, why do you think it’s extremely hard for championship teams in order to repeat in baseball compared to football (soccer) teams right here? The Red Sox were easy last season, but with an incredibly similar squad, they are struggling this time round. In soccer (soccer), you wouldn’t usually see this type of drop-off with so few changes.
— He S., Manchester, England
Great question. I think there are a selection of factors at work. Winning any championship, and playing an additional month of baseball, usually takes a serious toll. This shoves a player’s offseason-conditioning program back again, and there’s bound to be a number of carryover fatigue when the next season commences. Another thing you often see together with championship teams is that they have a lot of good fortune along the way. This has been definitely the case with the The year 2013 Red Sox, where they had plenty of bounces go their way and had some dramatic wins in the late innings. The best teams a few luck, and they also create a lot of it.
Then there’s the matter of workers. Championship teams seldom keep together like they accustomed to. In Boston’s case, the team misplaced Jacoby Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Stephen Drew. Perhaps the Sox undervalued how important these three participants were to last year’s staff, or simply thought that for organization reasons, they needed to go in an alternative direction.
At any rate, these are typically some factors that I notice early in the season. But the Crimson Sox still have quite a long time to re-establish their selves.
Is it just me or can you of the main problems with your lineup seem to be that we have absolutely no solid No. 5 player?
— Josh J., Arlington, Va.
You make a wonderful point. The decline and subsequent demotion of Daniel Nava has really injure the lineup, as no-one has stepped up with the sort of production he had last year. Donald Ortiz and Mike Napoli are seeing that eager as anyone for the pub to get some more production in the heart of the lineup. Once that occurs, pitchers can’t be so careful having those two guys.
With Nava now in the Minors, I thought we’d possibly be seeing a lot more of Jonny Gomes, but it really seems he is only actively playing once a week. Why are we seeing so little of him, particularly if he has been playing good this season?
— Dan H., Vernon, Large.
The Red Sox were really intending that Grady Sizemore’s left-handed bat would give all of them their best lineup against righties. To date, Sizemore has been inconsistent. I’m not sure playing Gomes more against righties is the remedy, either. He is perfect in the role he is in, and he helps Boston win lots of games as a starter towards lefties and a pinch-hitter in the mid-to-late innings.
With all of the questionable struggles the Sox have had from your left side of the infield, how much time will it be before manager Steve Farrell makes a move to get some criminal offense going?
— Violet, Millinocket, Maine
I’m not sure there’s a whole lot Farrell can do about it. They can only play the roster they have available to him. It sounds like you are wondering more if the top office can make a change in addition to add some more offense to the left side of the infield. I’m sure general manager Ben Cherington and his staff are dealing with all those options as we speak.
Why would the Sox get in the head associated with Nava, a consistent player last year, as opposed to supporting him? There are several individuals that are not hitting.
— Barry Ersus., Norwich, Vt.
The reason, plain and simple, is that Nava received Minor League options left and the other players would not. But you can’t pin all of this on the Red Sox. Nava could have maintained his position by participating in better earlier in the period. Now he is in a fight to earn his way back to the Majors. Nava has never hesitated to overcome some adversity before, so I’m wondering he’ll find his made use of to Fenway again.
Any updates nevertheless on how Nava is faring with Triple-A Pawtucket? His numbers down there need better, but have you heard something? He is just too good to spend the season down there.
— Lizbeth G., Boston
In his first 20 games together with the PawSox, Nava hit .275 with several homers and a .370 on-base percentage. Clearly, that is a much better sample of the form of player he can be compared to what he did earlier in Boston. The strikeouts are a bit of a concern, as Nava K’d 20 occasions in his first 69 at-bats pertaining to Pawtucket.
I feel bad for Drew. What’s happening together with him?
— Seth H., Brooklyn, N.Y.
I’m sure Drew appreciates your sympathy, but I don’t think you’ll want to feel bad for him. Look, the actual Red Sox offered Drew any one-year, $14.1 million salary for this time and he turned it lower. What’s happening with him now is that nobody wants to sign him before the First-Year Player Draft within June because they don’t want to stop trying a compensation pick. Following your Draft, I’m sure teams will probably clamor for Drew’s services. And it couldn’t surprise me at all when Boston re-engages if its production from the left side of the infield does not improve soon.
Has the question at this point gone from, ‘Will the Sox result in the playoffs this year?’ in order to ‘Will the Sox finish above .400?’
— Barry S., Quaker Hill, Conn.
Interestingly, the way things are looking now, I am not sure how much above .500 just about any American League East workforce will have to finish this year to really make the playoffs. Nobody in the split has played all that properly coming out of the gate. You work at some point, one of these teams will certainly emerge from the pack.
Are there any prospects in the Minors exactly who we could pull up to inject some energy into this specific offense? Mookie Betts? Garin Cecchini? Travis Shaw?
— Ian B., Boston
I think you are seeing living proof at Fenway right now that handing the particular keys to the young participants isn’t always the answer. The Red Sox have a very careful development strategy with all their prospects, and so they don’t like to rush their Minimal Leaguers simply to fill a spot at the Major League level. However, some of those players you mentioned could be ready to complete their own development. I think that September or August is generally a here we are at a top prospect or two to get a chance to inject many life into the club.
What’s using Clay Buchholz? Are the Red Sox dealing with him? Or do they expect him to bounce back on his own?
— Karl W., Locust Valley, N.Y simply.
The Red Sox work tirelessly with their pitchers, trying to get the most out of these people for each start. Of course they don’t just expect Buchholz to ‘bounce again on his own.’ I do consent that his early-season struggles have already been mysterious. Buchholz looked like the best drink pitcher in baseball before getting harmed last year. The medical personnel hasn’t detected any injuries, so the problems he is obtaining right now could be more mental compared to physical. Without a doubt, Boston needs to get Buchholz going if it would like to have legitimate repeat desires.