June 22, 2006

Sox Getting Hot As Summer Begins

The Red Sox offense is heating up -- the team is batting .345 (89-for-258) in their last seven games. They have recorded 12 or more hits in five consecutive games, which means everyone's getting involved.

In fact, over the last week, it has been the two shortstops who have the highest batting averages: Alex Cora (8-for-14, .571) and Alex Gonzalez (6-for-13, .462). Trot Nixon is hitting .455 (10-for-22) and Mark Loretta is at .400 (12-for-30).

In fact, over the last 30 days, Nixon's OBP is higher than leadoff man Kevin Youkilis (.460 to .447). I would love a 1-2 of Yook and Trot against right-handers, though some would argue against giving the opposition a chance to bring in a LOOGY to face Nixon and Ortiz back-to-back.

(So far this year, Nixon is hitting .236/.391/.400 against southpaws (so he's walking) and Ortiz is at .240/.327/.552. Papi's high slugging comes from hitting nine singles, six doubles and eight home runs against lefties.)

But would the benefit of having these guy getting five plate appearances a game outweigh a possible problem that might come up once, maybe twice (7th and 9th?) in a game?
Youkilis .337 .443 .558
Nixon .366 .453 .534
The starting pitching has also been steady. In the team's current six-game winning streak, the starters' runs allowed totals have been: 1, 2, 2, 3, 1, 1 (that three-run total belongs to Kyle Snyder, who is now in Pawtucket).

Jason Johnson will make his first Red Sox start on July 1 in Florida. Theo Epstein:
We're buying low. He's had a bad couple of months. Because of that, the acquisition cost was extremely low. We're not giving up a player. Cleveland is sending over a lot of money to us in the deal to help pay a lot of the salary.
It's absolutely a very low risk, which is why I don't mind the addition. And our infield is better than Cleveland's. However, Eric Wilbur passes along some scary numbers on Johnson this year.

Pedro Martinez talks about returning to Boston. ... David Ortiz is the third player in history to have hit at least five grand slams in the same park. The others: Cecil Cooper of the Brewers (County Stadium) and Ken Williams of the St. Louis Browns (Sportsman's Park). ... Jon Lester mixed his pitches well, getting strikeouts on his fastball (5), curve (4) and cutter (1). ... Dustan Mohr declined his assignment to Pawtucket and is now a free agent.

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