By: Matt Buynak
It’s no secret the Red Sox’s offense is lacking this season. Remember that 10-game losing streak back in May and five-game losing streak in June? Now Boston has lost eight of its last nine, scoring 18 runs over that span while opponents have scored 56.
On the season, the Red Sox have been outscored 467-412. Allowing 467 runs isn’t the Red Sox’s main problem. Toronto, second in the AL East, has allowed 463; however, the Blue Jays are only 2.5 games behind Baltimore because they score runs, 509 so far to be exact.
What is a problem for the Red Sox is that they’re 25th in runs scored. Based on winning percentage, there are six teams in Major League Baseball worse than Boston: Texas, Houston, Colorado, Chicago Cubs, Arizona, and Philadelphia. All of these teams, except the Cubs, have scored more runs than the Sox this season. In fact, the Rockies have scored nearly 100 more runs.
The addition of Yoenis Cespedes may give Boston’s offense the jolt it needs. The biggest asset the 28-year old outfielder brings with him is power. David Ortiz leads the Red Sox with 25 home runs. Cespedes, the reigning Home Run Derby Champ, brings a 17-home run total with him from Oakland, putting him second on the Red Sox. Before acquiring Cespedes, Boston’s homer count dropped drastically from Ortiz’s tally. Mike Napoli sat in second with 12 shots on the season. Xander Bogaerts held third with just eight home runs.
Cespedes doesn’t just hit for power, though. His .256 average would be fifth best on the Red Sox.
When compared to the position player Boston gave up for him, Jonny Gomes, Cespedes is better on nearly all counts. He’s five years younger, hitting .22 higher than Gomes, hit 11 more home runs and 19 more doubles this year, and has another year left on his contract while Gomes is a free agent at season’s end.
However, the Red Sox didn’t just send Gomes to the Athletics, they shipped off ace Jon Lester as well. Losing the 30-year old lefty is a rather big deal; he was 10-7 for the Sox this season, leading the team with a 2.52 ERA, but Boston’s rotation won’t miss him much.
The Sox’s five remaining starters hold reasonable ERAs. Allen Webster, who made his season debut Sunday, has a 3.38 ERA. John Lackey is 11-7 this season with a 3.60 ERA. Rubby De La Rosa is 3-4 with a 3.64 ERA. Brandon Workman is 1-4 with a 4.08 ERA. Clay Buchholz is 5-7 with a 5.87 ERA.
Many of these ERAs are good enough to win games. They haven’t this season because they lack run support. So far this season, Boston averages only 3.81 runs per game. Other teams in the league average around five runs per game. The acquisition of Cespedes should bring this figure up, meaning that if the Red Sox’s starters pitch the same or better than they have been, Boston will win more games than they’ll lose down the stretch.